Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A moderate grayish violet to moderate reddish purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bright purple synthetic dye.
  • n. The colour of this dye; a pale purple or violet colour.
  • adj. having a pale purple colour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A color of a delicate purple, violet, or lilac.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A reddish-purple dye obtained from aniline, the sulphate of the base mauvein; also, the color produced by it: so called from the resemblance of the color to the purple markings of the petals of mallows. It is now almost out of use. Also called Perkin's purple, aniline violet, and aniline purple.
  • Of the color of mauve: as, a mauve dress.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a moderate purple
  • adj. of a pale to moderate greyish violet color

Etymologies

French, from Old French mallow, from Latin malva; see mallow.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French mauve, from Latin malva, ‘mallow’, which has a purple colour. First coined in 1856 by the chemist William Henry Perkin, when he accidentally created the first aniline dye. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Children look for the Little People in mauve flowers – Canterbury bells and hyacinths – and, though they never find them, they know them there.

    The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing

  • Looking at picture two I get this unnerving feeling the color scheme is taken one step too far by dressing both girls in mauve.

    Horizontal Space by Duilio Damilano

  • It seems that up to 50 percent of schizophrenics have a biochemical quirk called the mauve factor a chemical by-product from oxidation injury to our fats and proteins.57These odd compounds can bind to zinc and vitamin B6, leading to a functional zinc deficiency.

    The UltraMind Solution

  • It was the shade of purple called mauve, and the chief agent in its production was bichromate of potash.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 470, January 3, 1885

  • In 1856 Perkins accidentally discovered the violet dye called mauve, which acquired considerable commercial importance besides its utility for ink purposes.

    Forty Centuries of Ink

  • A week ago, the society received a report of a mass stranding of a stinging jellyfish, called the mauve stinger, at Reef Beach on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

    UnderwaterTimes.com News of the Underwater World

  • I'm excited to be a part of it, and I hope if you're a progressive here in America's Wang™, you'll join me and many others to make this red well, kind of mauve state blue ... for good.

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • Thanks to St. Sinthe for this link that I've been yearning for--also, the link provider has an interesting look at the word "mauve"

    Saving Fiction & other news items discussed

  • I would like to think that she took my pronunciaton to heart and as she walked away reconsidered her policy on the word "mauve".

    idiot-milk Diary Entry

  • Perkin's violet, (probably the original "mauve"), dahlia, Parme or magenta violet, methyl, and Hofmann's violets.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 363, December 16, 1882

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  • "Her throat, the curve of which, seen from my bed, was strong and full, at that distance and in the lamplight appeared pinker, less pink however than her face, bent forward in profile, which my gaze, issuing from the innermost depths of myself, charged with memories and burning with desire, invested with such a brilliancy, such an intensity of life that its relief seemed to stand out and turn with the same almost magic power as on the day, in the hotel at Balbec, when my vision was clouded by my overpowering desire to kiss her; and I prolonged each of its surfaces beyond what I was able to see and beneath what concealed it from me and made me feel all the more strongly—eyelids which half hid her eyes, hair that covered the upper part of her cheeks—the relief of those superimposed planes; her eyes (like two facets that alone have yet been polished in the matrix in which an opal is still embedded), become more resistant than metal while remaining more brilliant than light, disclosed, in the midst of the blind matter overhanging them, as it were the mauve, silken wings of a butterfly placed under glass; and her dark, curling hair, presenting different conformations whenever she turned to ask me what she was to play next, now a splendid wing, sharp at the tip, broad at the base, black, feathered and triangular, now massing the contours of its curls in a powerful and varied chain, full of crests, of watersheds, of precipices, with its soft, creamy texture, so rich and so multiple, seeming to exceed the variety that nature habitually achieves and to correspond rather to the desire of a sculpture who accumulates difficulties in order to emphasise the suppleness, the vibrancy, the fullness, the vitality of his creation, brought out more strongly, but interrupting in order to cover it, the animated curve and, as it were, the rotation of the smooth, roseate face, with its glazed matt texture as of painted wood."
    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, pp 515-516 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 11, 2010

  • Belize: Look at that heavy sky out there.
    Louis: Purple.
    Belize: Purple? What kind of a homosexual are you anyway? That’s not purple, Mary, that color out there… is mauve.

    (from Angels in America)

    February 19, 2009

  • "As I listened to these words of excuse, uttered as though she did not intend to come, I felt that, with the longing to see again the velvet-soft face which in the past, at Balbec, used to direct all my days towards the moment when, by the mauve September sea, I should be beside that roseate flower, a very different element was painfully endeavouring to combine."
    --Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 179 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 13, 2009

  • Mauve is a bastard word to me. Doesn't fit the colour at all. See also puce.

    Actually, it seems there's just enough variation in the colour world to satisfy me: this is mauve!

    November 29, 2008

  • definition: a strong purple that is bluer and paler than monsignor

    January 2, 2007