[pur-puh l]


adjective, pur·pler, pur·plest.

verb (used with or without object), pur·pled, pur·pling.

to make or become purple.


    born in/to the purple, of royal or exalted birth: Those born to the purple are destined to live in the public eye.

Origin of purple

before 1000; Middle English purpel (noun and adjective), Old English purple (adjective), variant of purpure < Latin purpura “kind of shellfish yielding purple dye, the dye, cloth so dyed” < Greek porphýra; cf. purpure, porphyry
Related formspur·ple·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purpled

Historical Examples of purpled

  • He purpled with laughing and said: ‘Gad, she’ll always have her way!

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • His face had become frenzied and purpled, his hands were shaking.

    The Tyranny of Weakness

    Charles Neville Buck

  • The blood rushed in an angry tide to his face, and, suffusing, purpled his cheeks.

    The White Moll

    Frank L. Packard

  • Lilacs also, flushed with rose, purpled the walls of old houses.

    The Portion of Labor

    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • At the moment when they reached the river, the sun rose majestically on the horizon in a mist of purpled clouds.

British Dictionary definitions for purpled



any of various colours with a hue lying between red and blue and often highly saturated; a nonspectral colour
a dye or pigment producing such a colour
cloth of this colour, often used to symbolize royalty or nobility
the purple high rank; nobility
  1. the official robe of a cardinal
  2. the rank, office, or authority of a cardinal as signified by this
the purple bishops collectively


of the colour purple
(of writing) excessively elaborate or full of imagerypurple prose
noble or royal
Derived Formspurpleness, nounpurplish, adjectivepurply, adjective

Word Origin for purple

Old English, from Latin purpura purple dye, from Greek porphura the purple fish (Murex)
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 purpled


n., adj.

Old English purpul, dissimilation (first recorded in Northumbrian, in Lindisfarne gospel) of purpure "purple dye, a purple garment," purpuren (adj.) "purple," a borrowing by 9c. from Latin purpura "purple color, purple-dyed cloak, purple dye," also "shellfish from which purple was made," and "splendid attire generally," from Greek porphyra "purple dye, purple" (cf. porphyry), of uncertain origin, perhaps Semitic, originally the name for the shellfish (murex) from which it was obtained. Purpur continued as a parallel form until 15c., and through 19c. in heraldry. As a color name, attested from early 15c. Tyrian purple, produced around Tyre, was prized as dye for royal garments.

Also the color of mourning or penitence (especially in royalty or clergy). Rhetorical for "splendid, gaudy" (of prose) from 1590s. Purple Heart, U.S. decoration for service members wounded in combat, instituted 1932; originally a cloth decoration begun by George Washington in 1782. Hendrix' Purple Haze (1967) is slang for "LSD."



c.1400, from purple (n.). Related: Purpled; purpling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper