visual purple


: a photosensitive red or purple pigment in the retinal rods of various vertebrates
especially : rhodopsin

Word History

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of visual purple was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near visual purple

Cite this Entry

“Visual purple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

visual purple

: a red or purple pigment in the retina of various vertebrates including human beings that is sensitive to dim light and functions in night vision

Medical Definition

visual purple


More from Merriam-Webster on visual purple

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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