• synonyms

color wheel


See under complementary color(def 1a).


colorismRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.

Nearby words

color sergeant, color solid, color taste, color temperature, color transparency, color wheel, color-blind, color-code, color-coded, color-coordinated, color-key

Origin of color wheel

First recorded in 1890–95

Definition for color wheel (2 of 2)

complementary color


  1. one of a pair of primary or secondary colors opposed to the other member of the pair on a schematic chart or scale (color wheel), as green opposed to red, orange opposed to blue, or violet opposed to yellow.Compare analogous color.
  2. the relationship of these pairs of colors perceived as completing or enhancing each other.

Origin of complementary color

First recorded in 1820–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Science definitions for color wheel

complementary color

A secondary color that, when combined with the primary color whose wavelength it does not contain, produces white light. Thus yellow, which is produced by mixing the primary colors red and green, is the complementary color of blue. See Note at color.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.