from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A blue pigment made from powdered lapis lazuli.
  • noun A similar pigment made synthetically by heating clay, sodium carbonate, and sulfur together.
  • noun A vivid or strong blue to purplish blue.
  • adjective Of the color ultramarine.
  • adjective Of or from a place beyond the sea.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A beautiful natural blue pigment, obtained from the mineral lapis lazuli, a variety of haüyne.
  • noun Azure-stone.
  • Situated or being beyond the sea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Situated or being beyond the sea.
  • noun (Chem.) A blue pigment formerly obtained by powdering lapis lazuli, but now produced in large quantities by fusing together silica, alumina, soda, and sulphur, thus forming a glass, colored blue by the sodium polysulphides made in the fusion. Also used adjectively.
  • noun a green pigment obtained as a first product in the manufacture of ultramarine, into which it is changed by subsequent treatment.
  • noun (Paint.) a pigment which is the residuum of lapis lazuli after the ultramarine has been extracted. It was used by the old masters as a middle or neutral tint for flesh, skies, and draperies, being of a purer and tenderer gray than that produced by the mixture of more positive colors.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a brilliant blue pigment that is either extracted from mineral deposits or made synthetically.
  • noun colour a brilliant pure dark blue or slightly purplish colour.
  • adjective having a brilliant blue colour.

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

  • noun blue pigment made of powdered lapis lazuli
  • noun a vivid blue to purple-blue color
  • adjective of a brilliant pure blue to purplish blue color


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

[From Medieval Latin ultrāmarīnus, from beyond the sea : Latin ultrā, ultra- + Latin marīnus, of the sea (from mare, sea; see mori- in Indo-European roots).]


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  • "With the fin-de-siècle vogue for prettily coloured walls, the kitchen was painted blue.*

    * Less -- as one modern paint company would have it -- because flies were repelled by the colour than because both ultramarine and Prussian blue were relatively non-toxic compared to other colours laden with arsenic, lead and chromium."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 257

    January 18, 2017