abounding in color: In their tartans, the Scots guard made a colorful array.
richly eventful or picturesque: a colorful historical period.
presenting or suggesting vivid or striking scenes: a colorful narrative.

Origin of colorful

First recorded in 1885–90; color + -ful
Related formscol·or·ful·ly, adverbcol·or·ful·ness, nounun·col·or·ful, adjective

Synonyms for colorful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for colorfully

Contemporary Examples of colorfully

Historical Examples of colorfully

  • Jesse talked most colorfully when resting; Jesse was a man of memories.

    Wilderness of Spring

    Edgar Pangborn

  • The two cars moved through the town, past a group of colorfully arrayed people with flat turbans.

    The Pirates of Shan

    Harold Leland Goodwin

  • But his elegantly embroidered crimson and gold robes made him a colorfully outstanding figure, even on this colorful waterfront.

    The Players

    Everett B. Cole

  • Nancy found herself at home in this fine house in which life moved largely and colorfully.

    The Purple Heights

    Marie Conway Oemler

  • The floor was covered with a steel-cloth rug and steel-cloth hangings, colorfully painted, hid the walls.


    Clifford Donald Simak

Word Origin and History for colorfully



1889, in figurative sense of "interesting," from color (n.) + -ful. Related: Colorfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper