Definitions

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

  • noun Any of various shrubs or herbs of the genus Indigofera in the pea family, having pinnately compound leaves and usually red or purple flowers in axillary racemes.
  • noun A dark blue crystalline compound, C16H10N2O2, that is obtained from these plants or produced synthetically and is widely used as a textile dye.
  • noun Any of several related plants, especially those of the genera Amorpha and Baptisia.
  • noun The hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between blue and violet, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 420 to 450 nanometers; a dark blue to grayish purple blue.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as Japanese indigo.
  • noun In Australia, any plant of the genus Swainsona of the bean family, especially S. galegifolia. See Swainsona.
  • noun A substance obtained in the form of a blue powder from leguminous plants of the genus Indigofera, and used as a blue dye. See indigoplant.
  • noun The violet-blue color of the spectrum, extending, according to Helmholtz, from G two thirds of the way to F in the prismatic spectrum. The name was introduced by Newton, but has lately been discarded by the best writers.
  • noun An American leguminous plant, Baptisia australis. See Baptisia. Also called blue false indigo and wild indigo.

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

  • adjective Having the color of, pertaining to, or derived from, indigo.
  • adjective (Bot.) the fruit of the West Indian shrub Randia aculeata, used as a blue dye.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a small North American finch (Cyanospiza cyanea). The male is indigo blue in color. Called also indigo bunting.
  • adjective A dark, dull blue color like the indigo of commerce.
  • adjective (Chem.) a brown resinous substance found in crude indigo.
  • adjective (Min.) covellite.
  • adjective a green obtained from indigo.
  • adjective (Bot.) a leguminous plant of several species (genus Indigofera), from which indigo is prepared. The different varieties are natives of Asia, Africa, and America. Several species are cultivated, of which the most important are the Indigofera tinctoria, or common indigo plant, the Indigofera Anil, a larger species, and the Indigofera disperma.
  • adjective a purple obtained from indigo.
  • adjective a dyestuff, isomeric with indigo blue, obtained from crude indigo as a dark brown amorphous powder.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) the gopher snake.
  • adjective a white crystalline powder obtained by reduction from indigo blue, and by oxidation easily changed back to it; -- called also indigogen.
  • adjective a substance obtained from indigo.
  • noun A kind of deep blue, one of the seven prismatic colors.
  • noun (Chem.) A blue dyestuff obtained from several plants belonging to very different genera and orders, such as, the woad, Isatis tinctoria (family Cruciferae), Indigofera suffroticosa, Indigofera tinctoria (family Leguminosae), Indigofera Anil, Nereum tinctorium, Polygonum tinctorium Ait. (family Polygonaceae), etc.; called also natural indigo. It is a dark blue earthy substance, tasteless and odorless, with a copper-violet luster when rubbed. Indigo does not exist in the plants as such, but is obtained by decomposition of the glycoside indican.
  • noun (Bot.) Isatis indigotica, a kind of woad.
  • noun (Bot.) the American herb Baptisia tinctoria which yields a poor quality of indigo, as do several other species of the same genus.

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

  • noun A purplish-blue colour
  • noun An indigo-colored dye obtained from certain plants (the indigo plant or woad), or a similar synthetic dye.
  • adjective Having a deep blue colour.

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

  • noun a blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically
  • noun a blue-violet color
  • adjective having a color between blue and violet
  • noun deciduous subshrub of southeastern Asia having pinnate leaves and clusters of red or purple flowers; a source of indigo dye

Etymologies

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

[Spanish índigo and Dutch indigo (from Portuguese endego), both from Latin indicum, from Greek Indikon (pharmakon), Indian (dye), neuter of Indikos, of India, from India, India, from Indos, the Indus River, from Old Persian Hinduš, Sind; see Hindi.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish indico, Portuguese indigo, or Dutch (via Portuguese) indigo, all from Latin indicum ("indigo"), from Ancient Greek Ἰνδικὸν ("Indian dye").

Examples

  • I never heard the term indigo child until I read this article, but there it was in the New York Times on Thursday, and then last night at the video store I saw this--clearly some kind of confluence, at least for me.

    I Read The New Yorker This Week 1

  • I never heard the term indigo child until I read this article, but there it was in the New York Times on Thursday, and then last night at the video store I saw this--clearly some kind of confluence, at least for me.

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • He told the reporter he hates labels..doesnt like the term indigo and felt the parents need the help not the kids.

    I Read The New Yorker This Week 1

  • Newton said it had 7, so most say 7, but many people drop indigo from the list, since humans are generally very poor at differentiating indigo from blue/violet.

    Matthew Yglesias » Are African-Americans Conservative, or Is Ideological Self-Identification Meaningless?

  • Dyed in indigo, it was sold near the Dongarii Fort near Bombay.

    I say pyjama…

  • His model for discussion, indigo, is based on Saxon blue rather than on a traditional vat as it was in the earlier presentation. reference This is especially important because de la Follie developed several new dyeing processes that employed oil of vitriol — a critical component of the Saxon blue vat.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • For use as a coloring material, the indigo is placed into an alkaline solution, which again turns it green.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • The first of these changes was the development of the copperas vat, used in England in the 1730s for solid coloring of cloths as well as the creation of resist patterns. 10 In this process, prepared indigo is added to a mixture of copperas (ferrous sulfate) with lime and potash.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • The replacement of woad with indigo is an example of the (literal) intertwining of local and imported coloring sources.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • Processes to decompose plant matter through chemical or physical techniques had models, for both preparation and results, in indigo and woad. reference Heating, or the addition of fermenting agents, shortened preparation time and ensured that the greatest quantity of color was extracted.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Did you hear about the cow who got into the blueberry patch?

    She mooed indigo.

    October 6, 2009

  • Past tense: indiwent.

    March 5, 2011

  • Interesting usage in a translated primary source from ca. 900 can be found in comment on perfumer.

    November 28, 2017