[pig-muh nt]


a dry insoluble substance, usually pulverized, which when suspended in a liquid vehicle becomes a paint, ink, etc.
a coloring matter or substance.
Biology. any substance whose presence in the tissues or cells of animals or plants colors them.

verb (used with object)

to color; add pigment to.

verb (used without object)

to become pigmented; acquire color; develop pigmentation: a poor quality of paper that doesn't pigment well.

Origin of pigment

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin pigmentum paint, equivalent to pig- (stem of pingere to paint) + -mentum -ment
Related formshy·per·pig·ment·ed, adjectivenon·pig·ment·ed, adjectiveun·pig·ment·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pigment

dye, stain, tint, coloring, paint, oil, tincture, dyestuff, colorant

Examples from the Web for pigment

Contemporary Examples of pigment

Historical Examples of pigment

  • "I need to know something about the pigment patches," he said jerkily.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • And there were the splotches of pigment of which Calhoun had heard.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Tan also is due to pigment in the skin and is caused by light.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • It is a matter of regret that this pigment is not equally efficacious in oil.

  • It has not been, however, employed as a pigment, or at least is not at present.

British Dictionary definitions for pigment



a substance occurring in plant or animal tissue and producing a characteristic colour, such as chlorophyll in green plants and haemoglobin in red blood
any substance used to impart colour
a powder that is mixed with a liquid to give a paint, ink, etc
Derived Formspigmentary, adjective

Word Origin for pigment

C14: from Latin pigmentum, from pingere to paint
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

Word Origin and History for pigment

late 14c., from Latin pigmentum "coloring matter, pigment, paint," figuratively "prnament," from stem of pingere "to color, paint" (see paint (v.)). Variants of this word could have been known in Old English (e.g. 12c. pyhmentum). As a verb from 1900. Related: Pigmented; pigmenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pigment in Medicine




A substance used as coloring.
Dry coloring matter, usually an insoluble powder to be mixed with water, oil, or another base to produce paint and similar products.
A substance that produces a characteristic color in tissue.
A medicinal preparation applied to the skin like paint.


To color with pigment.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pigment in Science



An organic compound that gives a characteristic color to plant or animal tissues and is involved in vital processes. Chlorophyll, which gives a green color to plants, and hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color, are examples of pigments.
A substance or material used as coloring.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.