purple

adjective
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \
purpler\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce purple (audio) \; purplest\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce purple (audio) \

Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a color between red and blue : of the color purple a purple flower purple fabric … can only have left his antagonists purple with frustration.— Joseph Epstein
2a : ornately and showily phrased or expressed … the writing often descends into the purple prose of a besotted fan.— Stephen Holden … Rice is a first-rate writer. There are no purple patches in this narrative, and no attempts to sermonize.— Lawrence S. Cunningham
b : marked by profanity His language in public is so purple they had to stop broadcasting the meetings of the city council.Newsweek
3 US politics : having roughly equal levels of support for Democratic and Republican candidates or policies … a blue candidate trying to swipe a red seat in a purple state.— Don Rollins … as the race pulled tighter than Paris Hilton's jeans, Kerry volunteers flooded the purple states to energize their voters—tens of thousands of them newly registered.— Michelle Cottle — compare blue sense 9, red sense 5
4 dated : regal, imperial

purple

noun

Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 3)

1a(1) : cloth dyed purple
(2) : a garment of such color especially : a purple robe worn as an emblem of rank or authority
b(1) : tyrian purple
(2) : any of various colors that fall about midway between red and blue in hue
c(1) : a mollusk (as of the genus Purpura) yielding a purple dye and especially the Tyrian purple of ancient times
(2) : a pigment or dye that colors purple
2a : imperial or regal rank or power
b : high rank or station

purple

verb
purpled; purpling\ ˈpər-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce purple (audio) \

Definition of purple (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make purple

intransitive verb

: to become purple

Examples of purple in a Sentence

Adjective The book contains a few purple passages. Her writing was full of purple prose.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The neon purple pop makes this sleek design a real standout—perfect with a white tee and jeans, yet elegant and edgy enough to wear with a hot mini dress and heels. Noel Cody, Essence, 23 Dec. 2021 Part of drinking the sugar-laden purple Kool-Aid is to walk around with that chip on your shoulder. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 18 Dec. 2021 Periwinkle the color, which is gray-blue with a dash of red—and reads quite purple—can be tricky to use in interior design. Christine Lennon, Sunset Magazine, 14 Dec. 2021 Gold and purple beads hang from strings of overhead lights to give the room a Mardi Gras feel, a reference to the days when Onstad and other staff members lived in New Orleans. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Dec. 2021 Another disappeared into the purple-blue of the early evening, never to return. Kristin Collier, Longreads, 1 Dec. 2021 This week, students in Daisy's school district were encouraged to wear purple to honor Daisy. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 1 Dec. 2021 Cunanan and Dungca don’t ask the purple bun to do the heavy lifting for every sandwich. Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2021 The rising sun had begun painting the mountains and ski runs purple when Allen clicked his heel into his skis and prepared for his final descent a little over five hours later. The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The southern city's landmark Table Mountain will be lit up in purple, the color of the robes Tutu wore as archbishop. Andrew Meldrum, Chron, 27 Dec. 2021 The southern city’s landmark Table Mountain will be lit up in purple, the color of the robes Tutu wore as archbishop. Andrew Meldrum, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Dec. 2021 The southern city's landmark Table Mountain will be lit up in purple, the color of the robes Tutu wore as archbishop. Andrew Meldrum, ajc, 26 Dec. 2021 But on Friday, at his alma mater, Imwalle will be decked out in purple, cheering for his son and his Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep football team against the Lancers in the 5A quarterfinals. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 27 Nov. 2021 Similarly, the boys in purple couldn’t thwart an extended Tampa Bay attack deep into stoppage time that led to a Mkosana header pulling Rowdies level. Courtesy Of Loucity Communications, The Courier-Journal, 22 Nov. 2021 For several minutes, a red orb, edged in purple, surrounding a luminous yellow core, made the night as bright as day. Rachel Riederer, Harper's Magazine, 26 Oct. 2021 For counties in the strictest tier, purple, capacity will be limited to 100 people or fewer, and attendance will be regionally limited. Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2021 The First Church in Cambridge Congregational is dimly lit, a pale purple. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When conditions are right, the leaves of some trees start producing anthocyanins, which turn leaves red or in some cases purple. Peter Krouse, cleveland, 11 Nov. 2021 Liukin has been in Tokyo for a week and has already showcased numerous bold and vibrant outfits – from pink power suits to purple bell bottom pants – during her time at the games on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 26 July 2021 Depending on your exact location, sunsets glow from red to pink to purple — all of them photo-worthy, but ultimately too spectacular to be captured in a snap. Kathryn Romeyn, Travel + Leisure, 30 Nov. 2021 That's largely because Georgia has gone from solid red to purple in recent years. Michael Warren, CNN, 26 Sep. 2021 Green is considered healthy, orange and red unhealthy, and purple very unhealthy or hazardous. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 July 2021 Fairfield County, once solidly Republican, has shifted to purple as Democrats have made a series of gains especially through the Trump and Biden presidential election. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, 18 Aug. 2021 Unlike other efforts to turn red districts to purple, Democrats in the 3rd cannot count solely on mobilizing the base. David R. Eichenthal, The New Republic, 19 July 2021 In March, hundreds of the lights — mostly in the southeast region — began changing color from white to purple because of a technical glitch in the bulb. Drake Bentley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2021

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

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First Known Use of purple

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for purple

Adjective

Middle English purpel, alteration of purper, from Old English purpuran of purple, genitive of purpure purple color, from Latin purpura, from Greek porphyra

Learn More About purple

Time Traveler for purple

Time Traveler

The first known use of purple was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near purple

purpart

purple

purple apricot

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Statistics for purple

Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Purple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purple. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for purple

purple

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of the color purple
: using many fancy words

purple

noun

English Language Learners Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 2)

: a color that is between red and blue

purple

noun
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \

Kids Definition of purple

: a color between red and blue

purple

adjective
pur·​ple | \ ˈpər-pəl How to pronounce purple (audio) \
purpler\ -​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce purple (audio) \; purplest\ -​p(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce purple (audio) \

Medical Definition of purple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of the color purple

purple

noun

Medical Definition of purple (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : any of various colors that fall about midway between red and blue in hue
2 : a pigment or dye that colors purple — see visual purple

More from Merriam-Webster on purple

Nglish: Translation of purple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of purple for Arabic Speakers

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