Meaning of COLOR in English


I. col ‧ or 1 /ˈkʌlə $ -ər/ BrE AmE

the American spelling of ↑ colour

II. color 2 BrE AmE verb

color me surprised/confused/embarrassed etc American English spoken informal used to say that you are very surprised, confused etc by something:

‘Color me amazed!’ says prize-winner Angela Harris.

III. col·our 1 S1 W1 BrE AmE British English , color American English /ˈkʌlə $ -ər/ noun


1 . RED/BLUE/GREEN ETC [countable] red, blue, yellow, green, brown, purple etc:

What colour dress did you buy?

What colour are his eyes?

The pens come in a wide range of colours.

light/bright/pastel etc colour

I love wearing bright colours.

reddish-brown/yellowy-green/deep blue etc colour

The walls were a lovely reddish-brown color.

2 . COLOUR IN GENERAL [uncountable] ( also colours ) the appearance of something as a result of the way it ↑ reflect s (=throws back) light, especially when its appearance is very bright or is made up of a lot of different colours:

Bright bold accessories are the quickest way to add colour to a room.

in colour

The wine was almost pink in colour (=was almost pink) .

blaze/riot/mass of colour (=lots of different bright colours)

In summer the gardens are a blaze of colour.

a splash of colour (=a small area of a bright colour)

The sky began to slowly change colour.

the fall colors (=the colours of the trees in autumn)

3 . SB’S RACE [uncountable and countable] how dark or light someone’s skin is, which shows which race they belong to:

Everyone has a right to a job, regardless of their race, sex, or colour.

people of all colors

the continuing battle against colour prejudice

⇨ ↑ coloured 2

4 . people/women/students etc of color especially American English people, women etc who are not white:

I’m the only person of color in my class.

5 . SUBSTANCE [uncountable and countable] a substance such as paint or ↑ dye that makes something red, blue, yellow etc:

Wash the garment separately, as the colour may run (=come out when washed) .

jams that contain no artificial colours or preservatives

lip/nail/eye colour

our new range of eyeshadows and lip colours

6 . in (full) colour a television programme, film, or photograph that is in colour contains colours such as red, green, and blue rather than just black and white OPP in black and white :

All the recipes in the book are illustrated in full colour.

7 . SB’S FACE [uncountable] if you have some colour in your face, your face is pink or red, usually because you are healthy or embarrassed:

You look a lot better today. At least you’ve got a bit of colour now.

One of the girls giggled nervously as colour flooded her cheeks (=her cheeks suddenly went very pink or red) .

He stared at her, the colour draining from his face.

8 . SOMETHING INTERESTING [uncountable] interesting and exciting details or qualities that someone or something has:

The old market is lively, full of colour and activity.

a travel writer in search of local colour

add/give colour to something (=make something more interesting)

Intelligent use of metaphors can add colour to your writing.

9 . lend/give colour to something to make something, especially something unusual, appear likely or true:

We have new evidence that lends colour to the accusation of fraud.

10 . off colour

a) [not before noun] British English someone who is off colour is feeling slightly ill

b) [usually before noun] especially American English off-colour jokes, stories etc are rude and often about sex

11 . colours [plural]

a) the colours that are used to represent a team, school, club, country etc

club/team/school colours

a cap in the team colours

Australia’s national colours are gold and green.

b) British English a flag, shirt etc that shows that someone or something belongs to or supports a particular team, school, club, or country

12 . see the colour of sb’s money spoken to have definite proof that someone has enough money to pay for something:

‘A whiskey, please.’ ‘Let’s see the color of your money first.’

⇨ with flying colours at ↑ flying 1 (2), ⇨ nail your colours to the mast at ↑ nail 2 (5), ⇨ your true colours at ↑ true 1 (13)

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ a red/green/blue etc colour

Our door was painted a bright green colour.

▪ a reddish/greenish/bluish etc colour (=slightly red, green, blue etc)

The glass used for bottles is often a greenish colour.

▪ a bluey/yellowy/browny colour (=a shade of blue, yellow etc)

I like bluey colours best.

▪ a bright/strong colour (=strong and noticeable)

Bright colours look good in strong sunlight.

▪ a bold/vivid/vibrant colour (=bright in a way that is exciting)

His paintings are known for their use of bold colours.

▪ a rich colour (=strong and beautiful or expensive-looking)

I love the rich colours in oriental rugs.

▪ a dark colour (=more like black than white)

People tend to wear dark colours to work.

▪ a deep colour (=dark and attractive)

▪ a neutral colour (=one that matches other colours easily, for example white or cream)

▪ a light/pale colour (=not dark or strong)

Light colours make a room look larger.

▪ a pastel colour (=pale blue, pink, yellow or green)

▪ a warm colour (=pleasant and containing some red, yellow, or orange)

The old farmhouse is beautifully decorated with warm colours.

▪ a soft colour (=pleasant and not very strong)

▪ a subtle colour (=pleasant, not strong, and a little unusual)

Italian sweaters come in lovely subtle colours.

▪ a loud colour (=very bright in a way that looks unpleasant or funny)

▪ a gaudy/garish colour (=loud and usually showing bad taste)

▪ contrasting colours (=ones that are different from each other in a way that looks attractive)

You need to have one or two contrasting colours in the room.

▪ complementary colours (=ones that look nice together)

Plant the flowers in patches in complementary colours.

▪ a matching colour (=one that is the same as something else)

I bought some gloves and a scarf in a matching colour.

▪ a primary colour (=red, yellow, or blue)

Why are children’s toys always in primary colours?

■ verbs

▪ a colour matches something (=it is the same colour)

The colour in this tin of paint doesn’t match the walls.

▪ a colours clashes (with something) (=is different from something in a way that is unattractive)

Do you think the colour of this tie clashes with my shirt?

▪ a colour fades (=loses colour and brightness)

The colour of the curtains had faded in the sun.

■ colour + NOUN

▪ a colour scheme (=the colours that you use in a room, painting etc)

Have you decided on a colour scheme?

▪ a colour combination/combination of colours (=the colours that exist or that you put together)

In autumn the leaves create lovely colour combinations.

▪ a colour range/range of colours (=a number of colours that you can choose from)

There’s a wide colour range to choose from.

• • •


▪ colour red, blue, yellow etc:

Blue is my favourite colour.


Matisse was famous for his use of colour.

▪ shade a particular type of a colour:

The dress is a light shade of pink.


He uses different shades of green.

▪ hue /hjuː/ literary or technical a particular colour or shade of a colour:

Her face had lost its golden hue.

▪ tint a small amount of a colour in something that is mostly another colour:

He wears sunglasses that have a pinky-orange tint.

▪ tone one of the many different shades of a colour, each slightly darker, lighter, brighter etc than the next:

Carpets in neutral tones give a feeling of space.

■ dark colours

▪ dark used about a colour that is strong and fairly close to black:

a dark blue suit


His eyes are dark brown.

▪ deep fairly dark – often used when you think this colour looks attractive:

His eyes were a beautiful deep blue.


deep red lips

▪ rich used about a colour that is fairly dark in a way that gives a pleasant feeling of warmth:

The walls were painted a rich red colour.

■ light colours

▪ light used about a colour that is not dark:

a light blue sweater


His T-shirt was light green.

▪ pale used about a colour that is very light:

He has very pale blue eyes.

▪ soft used about a colour that is light in a way that is attractive because it is not too obvious:

She wears soft colours such as cream, which match her complexion.

▪ pastel used about a colour that has a lot of white in it:

The girls wore pastel pink sundresses.

■ bright colours

▪ bright used about a colour that is strong and easy to see:

The front door was painted bright red.

▪ brilliant/vivid used about a colour that is very bright:

I looked out at the brilliant blue sky.


vivid red flowers

▪ colourful British English , colorful American English used about things that have many different bright colours:

There were window boxes full of colourful flowers.

▪ multicoloured British English , multicolored American English used about things that have a pattern of many different bright colours:

A multicoloured flag waved in the midday sun.

▪ gaudy/garish too brightly coloured, in a way that is unattractive:

The wallpaper was much too gaudy for me.


a garish orange tie

IV. colour 2 BrE AmE British English , color American English verb


1 . [transitive] to change the colour of something, especially by using ↑ dye :

If I didn’t colour my hair I’d be totally grey.

Colour the icing with a little green food colouring.

colour something red/blue etc

Sunset came and coloured the sky a brilliant red.

2 . [intransitive and transitive] ( also colour in ) to use coloured pencils to put colours inside the lines of a picture:

On the back page is a picture for your child to colour in.

She has no idea how to colour a picture – she just scribbles all over it.

3 . [intransitive] literary when someone colours, their face becomes redder because they are embarrassed SYN blush :

Her eyes suddenly met his and she coloured slightly.

4 . colour sb’s judgement/opinions/attitudes etc to influence the way someone thinks about something, especially so that they become less fair or reasonable:

In my position, I can’t afford to let my judgement be coloured by personal feelings.

V. colour 3 BrE AmE British English , color American English adjective


colour television/photograph/printer etc a colour television, photograph etc produces or shows pictures in colour rather than in black, white, and grey ⇨ black and white :

a large color TV

Please ask for our free colour brochure.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.