[ kuhl-er ]
/ ˈkʌl ər /
the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.
the natural appearance of the skin, especially of the face; complexion: She has a lovely color.
a ruddy complexion: The wind and sun had given color to the sailor's face.
a blush: His remarks brought the color to her face.
vivid or distinctive quality, as of a literary work: Melville's description of a whaling voyage is full of color.
details in description, customs, speech, habits, etc., of a place or period: The novel takes place in New Orleans and contains much local color.
background information, as anecdotes about players or competitors or analyses of plays, strategy, or performance, given by a sportscaster to heighten interest in a sportscast.
- any distinctive color or combination or pattern of colors, especially of a badge, ribbon, uniform, or the like, worn or displayed as a symbol of or to identify allegiance to, membership in, or sponsorship by a school, group, or organization.
- nature, viewpoint, or attitude; character; personality: His behavior in a crisis revealed his true colors.
- a flag, ensign, etc., particularly the national flag.
- U.S. Navy. the ceremony of hoisting the national flag at 8 a.m. and of lowering it at sunset.
skin complexion as a characteristic of a particular people or ethnic group, especially when other than white: one's religion and color;a person of color;people of color;a man of color;alumni of color;children of color.
outward appearance or aspect; guise or show: It was a lie, but it had the color of the truth.
a pretext: She did it under the color of doing a good deed.
Painting. the general use or effect of the pigments in a picture.
Chiefly Law. an apparent or prima facie right or ground: to hold possession under color of title.
Music. tone color.
a trace or particle of valuable mineral, especially gold, as shown by washing auriferous gravel.
Physics. any of the labels red, green, or blue that designate the three states in which quarks are expected to exist, or any of the corresponding labels for antiquark states.Compare quantum chromodynamics, quark model.
Printing. the amount of ink used.
Heraldry. a tincture other than a fur or metal, usually including gules, azure, vert, sable, and purpure.
involving, utilizing, yielding, or possessing color: a color TV.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to take on or change color: The ocean colored at dawn.
to flush; blush: He colored when confronted with the incriminating evidence.
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Idioms for color
- to blush as from embarrassment.
- to turn pale, as from fear: When he saw the size of his opponent, he changed color.
call to the colors, to summon for service in the armed forces: Thousands are being called to the colors.
with flying colors. flying colors (def. 2).
Also especially British, col·our .
Origin of color
First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English col(o)ur, from Anglo-French (French couleur ), from Latin colōr- (stem of color ) “hue”
usage note for color
usage note for color
OTHER WORDS FROM color
col·or·er, nouno·ver·col·or, verbpre·col·or, noun, verbre·col·or, verb (used with object)
trans·col·or, adjectiveun·der·col·or, noun
Definition for color (2 of 2)
(in prescriptions) let it be colored.
Origin of color.
From the Latin word colōrētur
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for color
/ (ˈkʌlə) /
the US spelling of colour
Derived forms of color
colorable, adjectivecolorer, nouncolorful, adjectivecoloring, noun
colorist, nouncolorless, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Medical definitions for color
[ kŭl′ər ]
That aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be specified in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation.
That portion of the visible electromagnetic spectrum specified in terms of wavelength, luminosity, and purity.
The general appearance of the skin.
The skin pigmentation of a person not classified as white.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Scientific definitions for color
[ kŭl′ər ]
The sensation produced by the effect of light waves striking the retina of the eye. The color of something depends mainly on which wavelengths of light it emits, reflects, or transmits.
Color charge. See also hadron.
A Closer Look
When beams of colored light are mixed, or added, their wavelengths combine to form other colors. All spectral colors can be formed by mixing wavelengths corresponding to the additive primaries red, green, and blue. When two of the additive primaries are mixed in equal proportion, they form the complement of the third. Thus cyan (a mixture of green and blue) is the complement of red; magenta (a mixture of blue and red) is the complement of green; and yellow (a mixture of red and green) is the complement of blue. Mixing the three additive primaries in equal proportions reconstitutes white light. When light passes through a color filter, certain wavelengths are absorbed, or subtracted, while others are transmitted. The subtractive primaries cyan, magenta, and yellow can be combined using overlapping filters to form all other colors. When two of the subtractive primaries are combined in equal proportion, they form the additive primary whose wavelength they share. Thus overlapping filters of cyan (blue and green) and magenta (blue and red) filter out all wavelengths except blue; magenta (blue and red) and yellow (red and green) transmit only red; and yellow (red and green) and cyan (blue and green) transmit only green. Combining all three subtractive primaries in equal proportions filters out all wavelengths, producing black. Light striking a colored surface behaves similarly to light passing through a filter, with certain wavelengths being absorbed and others reflected. Pigments are combined to form different colors by a process of subtractive absorption of various wavelengths.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with color
In addition to the idiom beginning with color
- color of someone's money, see the
- false colors
- horse of a different color
- lend color to
- look through rose-colored glasses
- under false colors
- with flying colors
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.