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

  • n. Any of a group of colors with a hue between that of violet and red.
  • n. Cloth of a color between violet and red, formerly worn as a symbol of royalty or high office.
  • n. Imperial power; high rank: born to the purple.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church The rank or office of a cardinal.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church The rank or office of a bishop.
  • adj. Of the color purple.
  • adj. Royal or imperial; regal.
  • adj. Elaborate and ornate: purple prose.
  • transitive v. To make or become purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A colour/color that is a dark blend of red and blue; dark magenta.
  • n. Imperial power, because the colour purple was worn by emperors and kings.
  • n. Any of various species of mollusks from which Tyrian purple dye was obtained, especially the common dog whelk.
  • n. The purple haze cultivar of cannabis in the kush family, either pure or mixed with others, or by extension any variety of smoked marijuana.
  • adj. Having a colour/color that is a dark blend of red and blue.
  • adj. Not predominantly red or blue, but having a mixture of Democrat and Republican support, as in purple state, purple city.
  • adj. Mixed between social democrats and liberals.
  • v. To turn purple in colour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Exhibiting or possessing the color called purple, much esteemed for its richness and beauty; of a deep red, or red and blue color.
  • adj. Imperial; regal; -- so called from the color having been an emblem of imperial authority.
  • adj. Blood-red; bloody.
  • n. A color formed by, or resembling that formed by, a combination of the primary colors red and blue.
  • n. Cloth dyed a purple color, or a garment of such color; especially, a purple robe, worn as an emblem of rank or authority; specifically, the purple rode or mantle worn by Roman emperors as the emblem of imperial dignity.
  • n. Hence: Imperial sovereignty; royal rank, dignity, or favor; loosely and colloquially, any exalted station; great wealth.
  • n. A cardinalate. See Cardinal.
  • n. Any species of large butterflies, usually marked with purple or blue, of the genus Basilarchia (formerly Limenitis) See Illust. under Ursula.
  • n. Any shell of the genus Purpura.
  • n. See Purpura.
  • n. A disease of wheat. Same as Earcockle.
  • transitive v. To make purple; to dye of purple or deep red color.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A color formed by the mixture of blue and red, including the violet of the spectrum above wave-length 0.417 micron, which is nearly a violet-blue, and extending to but not including crimson.
  • n. Of the various colors called purple at any time, the Tyrian dye (which was properly a crimson) was anciently the most celebrated. This color was produced from an animal juice found in a shell-fish called murex or conchylium by the ancients. See Purpura, 2.
  • n. A cloth robe, dress, or mantle of this hue, formerly the distinguishing dress of emperors, kings, or princes: as, to wear the purple.
  • n. Hence Imperial or regal power; the office or dignity of an emperor or king.
  • n. A cardinalate: so called in allusion to the red or scarlet hat and robes worn officially by cardinals.
  • n. A gastropod yielding a purple fluid for dyeing, as a murex. Holland, tr. of Pliny.
  • n. A shell of the genus Purpura.
  • n. A purple fluid secreted by certain shell-fish, more fully called purple of Mollusca.
  • n. plural See purples.
  • Of a hue or color composed of red and blue blended.
  • Imperial; regal; of the conventional color of imperial robes.
  • See Patersonia.
  • To tinge or stain with purple; impart a purplish hue to.
  • To become purple; assume a purplish hue.

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

  • adj. excessively elaborate or showily expressed
  • n. a purple color or pigment
  • v. color purple
  • adj. of a color intermediate between red and blue
  • n. of imperial status
  • v. become purple
  • adj. belonging to or befitting a supreme ruler


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

Middle English, from Old English purpul, from purpure, purple garment, from Latin purpura, shellfish yielding purple dye, purple cloth, purple, from Greek porphurā.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English purpel, from Old English purple, purpure ("purple"), from Latin purpura ("purple dye, shellfish"), from Ancient Greek πορφύρα (porphura, "purple fish"), of Semitic origin.


  • [49]: The purple die is called in I Maccab.iv. 23, _purple of the sea, _ or _sea purple_; it being the blood or juice of a turbinated shell-fish, which the Jews call [Hebrew] _Chalson_; this they speak of as a shell-fish.

    Female Scripture Biographies, Volume II

  • For when Alexander ordered the Greeks to furnish him with purple robes to wear at the sacrifices on his triumphal return from war against the barbarians, and his subjects contributed so much per head, Theocritus said, "Before I doubted, but now I am sure, that this is the _purple death_ Homer speaks of." [

    Plutarch's Morals

  • The word purple is derived from the Greek porphura, an octopus which yielded purple pigments from which purple dyes were originally manufactured.

    Zolar’s Magick Of Color

  • The colour purple is the colour of mourning in Rwanda and yesterday, 7th April, was the 15th Anniversary of the Genocide.

    Global Voices in English » Rwanda: Fifteen years after the genocide

  • Another aural Field, what I call purple space, should be mentioned.

    Wrong Planet Asperger / Autism Forums

  • The "purple" is the badge of empire; even as in mockery it was put on our Lord. decked -- literally, "gilded." stones -- Greek, "stone." filthiness -- A, B, and Andreas read, "the filthy (impure) things."

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • To her, a woman was a woman, whether garbed in purple or the rags of the gutter;

    Jack London Play:The Scorn of Women

  • Although from moment to moment we were dazzled by the greater bolts, there persisted always a tremulous, pulsing lesser play of light, sometimes softly blue, at other times a thin purple that quivered on into a thousand shades of lavender.


  • The last Mariposa lily vanished from the burnt grasses as the California Indian summer dreamed itself out in purple mists on the windless air.


  • But what knocked me out was seeing the morpho cypris in purple: if you got one that colour in real life, it would have a hard time, since butterflies recognise their mates by the colour of their wings.

    Another view on Damien Hirst: The Souls


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.