ul·​tra·​ma·​rine | \ ˌəl-trə-mə-ˈrēn How to pronounce ultramarine (audio) \

Definition of ultramarine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a vivid blue
2a(1) : a blue pigment prepared by powdering lapis lazuli
(2) : a similar pigment prepared from kaolin, soda ash, sulfur, and charcoal
b : any of several related pigments



Definition of ultramarine (Entry 2 of 2)

: situated beyond the sea

Examples of ultramarine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Only then can the brilliant ultramarine that color skies and the Virgin Mary’s dress in many European paintings be retrieved. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "New Exhibition Unfolds the “Bizarre” Stories Behind Centuries-Old Pigments," 21 Mar. 2018 The pigments are variously derived from plants, minerals, animals, insects, and, like synthetic ultramarine, from nothing more magical than chemistry experiments. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Coloring our world, from cave paintings to today," 15 Mar. 2018 Over the Rhône, for example: Van Gogh used all three of the new colors—Prussian blue, cobalt and ultramarine—to capture the nighttime hues of the Rhône river, according to the Musée d’Orsay. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "Creating a Full Palette of Blues," 26 June 2017 This system led to, among other things, the creation of French ultramarine, one of the first affordable blue pigments on a painter’s palette. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "Napoleon’s Lifelong Interest in Science," 15 Aug. 2017 The list of supplies that American wildlife artist Francis Lee Jaques needed to paint the backgrounds of the three-dimensional models: one can black paint, two tubes yellow ochre, one tube ultramarine blue, one tube burnt amber, etc. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "UMN’s new Bell Museum slated to open early summer 2018," 31 Mar. 2017 Yellow-green, coral, pale peach, navy, burnt caramel, cream and dusty ultramarine all made it into Cerruti’s menswear fashions — but they were always handled with restrain. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "Olympic spectacle upstages menswear Fashion Week in Paris," 23 June 2017 Every evening, thirty minutes before sunset, the space will again be muted with LED turquoises and ultramarines to mimic the late afternoon skies and light up the minimalist white walls—the altar will glow at the front of the dark wooden pews. Alexandra Pereira, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why You Need to See James Turrell's Berlin Chapel This Summer," 18 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Figuring out how to stabilize an ultramarine blue pigment so it could be used in foundation formulas for the first time. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "25 People Changing the Beauty Industry," 3 Sep. 2019 Blue rubber mulch slopes upward from the pool, extending the yard’s clean ultramarine look, all accentuated by aggregate coated with gray non-slip adhesive paint. R. Daniel Foster, latimes.com, "Before and After: A reimagined Midcentury design helps turn a home from frumpy to fabulous," 6 July 2018 The wine is made from grapes grown down the hill from us at a vineyard sloping toward the ultramarine Limmat River, which snakes through Zurich. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Plan a Trip to Zurich This Summer (Yes, Really)," 2 May 2018 For example, many of the colorants that are used in makeup are mineral pigments, iron oxides, ultramarine colorants, etc. Joyann King, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why You Can't "Print" Quality Cosmetics," 9 May 2014 One archetypal medieval gown in deep ultramarine velvet had structured straps diagonally across the bust, leading the eye down to floor length slit sleeves — styles worn by queens in court. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "Fendi stuns with Jenner and Hadid fur show to cap couture," 5 July 2017 Some, of night skies, embed white dots, for stars, in glazes of a dense black, with subliminal admixtures of, Celmins recently told me, ultramarine, raw umber, and ochre. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Beautiful and the Unexpected," 27 Feb. 2017 As a plein-air artist, Laub worked almost exclusively outdoors, in all kinds of weather, and used only six tubes of oil paint: ultramarine blue, manganese blue, rose madder deep, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow light, and titanium white. Edith Newhall, Philly.com, "In galleries: Joyous colorist John Laub, interiors and exteriors at Gershman, and a painter toasts her teacher," 4 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ultramarine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ultramarine


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)


1652, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ultramarine


Medieval Latin ultramarinus coming from beyond the sea, from Latin ultra- + mare sea — more at marine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ultramarine

Statistics for ultramarine

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ultramarine

The first known use of ultramarine was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ultramarine



English Language Learners Definition of ultramarine

: a very bright blue color

More from Merriam-Webster on ultramarine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ultramarine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ultramarine

Comments on ultramarine

What made you want to look up ultramarine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!