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

  • adjective Seemingly genuine or legally valid.
  • adjective Capable of being colored.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Capable of being colored; capable of being dyed, painted, tinged, or stained.
  • Specious; plausible; giving an appearance of right, fairness, or fitness, especially a false appearance: as, a colorable pretext; a colorable excuse.
  • Synonyms Specious, Plausible, etc. See ostensible.

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

  • adjective Specious; plausible; having an appearance of right or justice.

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

  • adjective US Alternative spelling of colourable.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Their positions on these points were at least colorable from a legal perspective.


  • Legality is merely a "colorable" contract that those you have duped have, unknowingly, agreed to.

    Dear Government Official:

  • It is arguable that the opposite is more "colorable" given recent history.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • "colorable," a word he used frequently during his hearing.

    Maryland Daily Record

  • "colorable," a word he used frequently during his hearing.

    Maryland Daily Record

  • Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that "the poor quality of Landrigan's alleged mitigating evidence prevented him from making 'a colorable claim '" that the trial judge would have spared his life.

    The British company making a business out of killing

  • If Pelosi knew or should have known the practices were illegal, and she committed an act or active omission intended to further the criminal activity, then there is a colorable charge. At the Sharp End: The Highest Officials Authorize Torture of a Clerk

  • (S. 1998), was signed into law in Dec 2006, and now makes it illegal to even make false VERBAL claims of receiving “any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item”.


  • I suppose if charged with obstruction of justice or similar offense for refusing to testify, under the right factual circumstances the witness might have a colorable necessity defense, e.g. if he feared being “rubbed out” by the person against whom he was to testify.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Not the Best Way to Inspire Confidence

  • I think that the main difference with the Tamils or the Naxalites, is that Israel does not claim sovereignty over the West Bank/Gaza, so it seems that only the PA – which has been recognized in some degree by several many countries after Oslo – has some colorable clain to sovereignty.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Palestinian Authority and the ICC


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