Meaning of COLOR in English


I. ˈkələ(r) noun

( -s )

Usage: see -or

Etymology: Middle English colour, from Old French color, colour, from Latin color; akin to Latin celare to conceal — more at hell


a. : any of manifold phenomena of light (as red, brown, pink, gray, green, blue, white) or of visual sensation or perception that enables one to differentiate objects even though the objects may appear otherwise identical (as in size, form, or texture)

b. : the aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be described and specified in terms derivable wholly from one's perceptions most conveniently involving hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources — used in this sense as the psychological basis for definitions of color in this dictionary

c. : the characteristic of light by means of which two areas of identical size and shape that are juxtaposed, structure-free, and steadily and uniformly illuminated may be distinguished by a human observer and which is commonly identified for spectral colors by dominant wavelength, luminance, and purity and for nonspectral colors (as purples) by complementary wavelength, luminance, and purity — used in this sense as the psychophysical basis for measuring color which in turn makes it possible to define the limits for each color definition used in this dictionary; see the Color Charts

d. : a hue as contrasted to black, white, or gray

e. : a hue or tint noticeable as different, not prevalent, unusual, unexpected


a. : an outward show often concealing an underlying true character : aspect , appearance , semblance , guise

related processes of thought, beliefs, and standards prevailed and imparted a spiritual color to the time — H.O.Taylor

he suddenly, to give his conclusions the color of religion, slips in a false analogy — P.E.More

b. : a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office

c. : appearance or pretense offered as justification or extenuation : show of reason : pretext

she could have drawn from the Versailles treaty the color of legality for any action she chose — Yale Review

: qualified justification

d. : appearance of validity or authenticity : plausibility

lending color to this notion

army officers spread the word that this ship had brought 800 troops, and to give color to the story, they ordered tents pitched — American Guide Series: Maryland

e. : character , complexion , tone , quality , nature

something was happening that changed the whole color of the political scene — H.L.Mencken

England was up against a foe of its own weight and color — O.S.J.Gogarty

: nature as regards genuineness

see the color of one's money

3. : complexion tint:

a. : the tint characteristic of good health and spirits or of at least a normal amount of outdoor activity

to bring the color back to her pale cheeks

the prisoners had lost color during their confinement

b. : the ruddy diffusion of or as if of a blush

she had recovered some of her poise but her color showed beneath her makeup — Hartley Howard


a. colors plural , archaic : rhetorical ornaments of language : stylistic decorations ; especially : figures of speech

b. : vividness or variety of emotional effects of language (as of sound and image) in prose or poetry

that color and force of style which were later to make him outstanding — Arthur Krock

c. : local color



(1) : a distinctively colored badge or device or distinctively colored clothing distinguishing one as a member of a particular group or organization, a follower or representative of a particular person or thing, or a partisan of a particular cause — usually used in plural

wearing the college colors

a jockey riding under the colors of a stable

the colors of the prince's household — Sir Walter Scott

(2) : cognizance 1 — usually used in plural

b. Britain : an athlete or player awarded the right to a color in recognition of status as a team member

c. colors plural

(1) : position with reference to a question or course of action : stand , point of view

we did not know how to act until our antagonist had clearly shown his colors

(2) : appearance or conduct in respect to its reflecting a person's character or nature

showing himself finally in his true colors



(1) : a color usually used in armory excepting those classified as metals : a heraldic tincture that is not a metal or a fur

(2) colors plural : livery colors 2a

b. : a variegation of hues, tints, or shades or a basic hue marked with spots, patches, bands, or streaks of one or more shades

of tabby color

c. : a striking hue or combination of hues in foliage especially other than or in combination or contrast with green


(1) : the use or combination of colors ; especially : the use of color regarded as determining the total effect of a painting

Titian is a master of color

(2) : an effect of a variety of colors produced with a monochrome medium (as an etching or engraving)

(3) : two or more hues employed in a medium of presentation

movies in color

color printing

color television

(4) : one hue of two or more used in a printing job

e. : the general overall shade or tone of ink on a page of printed matter

f. : contrast between what is printed, whatever its hue, and what it is printed on

this print lacks color ; it is too gray

also : ability of a typeface to achieve such contrast

g. : ink regardless of its hue

the pressman calls out for color when he needs more ink — Howard Lockwood


a. : a flag, ensign, or pennant usually symbolic (as of a country): as

(1) : one carried by an army regiment — see king's color , regimental color

(2) colors plural , in the British navy : the ensign, jack, and pennant or distinguishing flag flown instead of the pennant : the ensign and jack

(3) colors plural : a set of two or more flags that are customarily displayed together (as on parade) by any group or organized body or a group representing such an organization and that includes typically at least one civic flag (as the national, state, or municipal flag) and one organizational flag

(4) colors plural , usually capitalized : the national flag

b. : the regiment or service distinguished by the color

c. colors plural : a navy or nautical salute to a flag when it is hoisted

d. colors plural : the armed forces of one's country — usually used in the phrase serve with the colors

8. : vitality , vividness , interest

the play had a good deal of color to it

the wonderful color of a foreign market place

9. : something that is used to give color : coloring matter : pigment , dye

oil colors

butter color


a. : timbre 1b

b. : the tonal quality of a voice or instrument or the effect produced by a combination of such qualities in the performance of music — called also tone color


a. : skin pigmentation other than white characteristic of race (as of the Negro race)

a person of color

color prejudices

b. : the members of a race or group with such pigmentation ; especially : negroes

12. : a small particle of gold in a gold miner's pan after most of the waste has been washed away

13. : animating, striking, or vividly picturesque character : attendant features evoking interest or stimulating the imagination : striking quality commanding attention

the color of the Mardi Gras

a ballplayer with color

specifically : such quality or character as a marked characteristic of a composition

having all the color of a romantic tale

add color to the event in recounting it

14. : a coating mixture of pigment and adhesive, whether colored or not, used in papermaking


a. : all the red cards (hearts and diamonds) or all the black cards (spades and clubs)

b. : the other suit of the same color as the trump suit

c. : suit 7a(1)

d. : couleur 2b


chroma , hue , shade , tint , tinge , tone : color is the generic and most general term in this set. chroma , usually limited to scientific or technical writing, may stress the attributes of hue and saturation, as in bright red or dull green, in contrast to white, grays, or black, which do not possess these attributes. hue may suggest that property by which colors of the spectrum are distinguished one from another and from corresponding grays

all the gradational hues of the spectrum from red through yellow, green, blue, to violet — Scientific Monthly

In less scientific use it indicates merely color or gradation or modification of color

livid with the hue of death — Mary W. Shelley

their shining green has changed to a less vivid hue — Lafcadio Hearn

shade is usually used to indicate a gradation of a color or hue according to lightness or brightness. It often but not always suggests a darker rather than lighter gradation. tint indicates a gradation of a color or hue, usually either a lighter gradation, one oriented toward white, or a gradation of a light color

Father Latour had often remarked that this tree seemed especially designed in shape and color for the adobe village. The sprays of bloom which adorn it are merely another shade of the red earth walls, and its fibrous trunk is full of gold and lavender tints — Willa Cather

tinge suggests an interfusion or an overlay, stain, dappling, or freaking of one color over or into another general background color

in ore it [copper] is red in color, but a freshly fractured surface of the pure metal has a pinkish or yellowish tinge — New Yorker

In nontechnical writing color , hue , shade , and tint are often interchangeable

flowing … now over rocks of greenish hue and again over those of brownish tint — American Guide Series: New Hampshire

tone , while often equivalent to color , suggests more particularly hue or a modification of hue, as tint or shade

from strand to cloud-capped peak, the tone was purple — William Beebe

it [dun] was also very much used as a couplet to other terms, like brown, red, yellow, etc., to express dull, grayed tones of such colors — A.J.Maerz & M.R.Paul

Synonym: see in addition flag .

- under colors

- with flying colors

II. verb

( colored ; colored ; coloring ˈkəl(ə)riŋ ; colors )

Usage: see -or

Etymology: Middle English colouren, from Old French colorer, from Latin colorare, from color, n.

transitive verb


a. : to give color to : imbue with color

b. : to change or alter the color of (as by dyeing, staining, or painting) : dye , tinge , tint , shade , paint , stain

2. : to change or alter as if by dyeing or painting: as

a. : misrepresent , disguise , distort , bias

a highly colored version of the facts

b. : gloss , palliate , excuse

color a lie

3. obsolete : to misrepresent as one's own

4. : influence , shape , condition , affect

the lives of most of us have been colored by politics — Christine Weston

how much the contemplation of death has colored human thought — H.L.Mencken

5. : to imbue (as a piece of writing) with a subjective quality or cause to produce a particular emotional effect

his writings were colored by his feelings

6. : to produce a fine finish on (a metal) by polishing with rouge or lime

7. : to modify the articulation or acoustic quality of (a speech sound)

an r- colored vowel

intransitive verb

: to take on or acquire a color:

a. : to take on the color of ripeness (as of grapes)

b. : blush , flush

colored as though she had said something very daring — Willard Robertson

III. adjective

Usage: see -or

Etymology: color (I)

: showing or dealing with or concerned with color:

a. : concerned with skin pigmentation : racist

the color line

b. : capable of reproducing color : showing things in color

color photography

: capable of producing more than one color at a single operation

a two- color press

also : used to print one color in a job printed in two or more colors

a color cut

a color border

IV. noun

: a hypothetical property of quarks that differentiates each type into three forms that are identical in mass, spin, electric charge, and all other measurable quantities but that have distinct roles in the strong interactions that bind quarks together

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.