[kuhl-er] /ˈkʌl ər/

the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.
the natural appearance of the skin, especially of the face; complexion:
She has a lovely color.
a ruddy complexion:
The wind and sun had given color to the sailor’s face.
a blush:
His remarks brought the color to her face.
vivid or distinctive quality, as of a literary work:
Melville’s description of a whaling voyage is full of color.
details in description, customs, speech, habits, etc., of a place or period:
The novel takes place in New Orleans and contains much local color.
something that is used for coloring; pigment; paint; tint; dye.
background information, as anecdotes about players or competitors or analyses of plays, strategy, or performance, given by a sportscaster to heighten interest in a sportscast.

skin complexion of a particular people or ethnic group, especially when other than white: a person of color; people of color; a man of color; alumni of color; children of color.
outward appearance or aspect; guise or show:
It was a lie, but it had the color of the truth.
a pretext:
She did it under the color of doing a good deed.
Painting. the general use or effect of the pigments in a picture.
Phonetics. .
Chiefly Law. an apparent or prima facie right or ground:
to hold possession under color of title.
Music. .
a trace or particle of valuable mineral, especially gold, as shown by washing auriferous gravel.
Physics. any of the labels red, green, or blue that designate the three states in which quarks are expected to exist, or any of the corresponding labels for antiquark states.
Compare , .
Printing. the amount of ink used.
Heraldry. a tincture other than a fur or metal, usually including gules, azure, vert, sable, and purpure.
involving, utilizing, yielding, or possessing color:
a color TV.
verb (used with object)
to give or apply color to; tinge; paint; dye:
She colored her hair dark red.
to cause to appear different from the reality:
In order to influence the jury, he colored his account of what had happened.
to give a special character or distinguishing quality to:
His personal feelings color his writing.
verb (used without object)
to take on or change color:
The ocean colored at dawn.
to flush; blush:
He colored when confronted with the incriminating evidence.
call to the colors, to summon for service in the armed forces:
Thousands are being called to the colors.
change color,

with flying colors. .
noun, verb
the US spelling of colour

“flag of a regiment or ship” 1580s, from color (n.).

early 13c., “skin color, complexion,” from Old French color “color, complexion, appearance” (Modern French couleur), from Latin color “color of the skin; color in general, hue; appearance,” from Old Latin colos, originally “a covering” (akin to celare “to hide, conceal”), from PIE root *kel- “to cover, conceal” (see cell).

For sense evolution, cf. Sanskrit varnah “covering, color,” related to vrnoti “covers,” and also see chroma. Meaning “visible color, color of something” is attested in English from c.1300. As “color as a property of things,” from late 14c. Old English words for “color” were hiw (“hue”), bleo.

late 14c.; see color (n.); earliest use is figurative. Related: Colored; coloring.

color col·or (kŭl’ər)


Our Living Language : When beams of colored light are mixed, or added, their wavelengths combine to form other colors. All spectral colors can be formed by mixing wavelengths corresponding to the additive primaries red, green, and blue. When two of the additive primaries are mixed in equal proportion, they form the complement of the third. Thus cyan (a mixture of green and blue) is the complement of red; magenta (a mixture of blue and red) is the complement of green; and yellow (a mixture of red and green) is the complement of blue. Mixing the three additive primaries in equal proportions reconstitutes white light. When light passes through a color filter, certain wavelengths are absorbed, or subtracted, while others are transmitted. The subtractive primaries cyan, magenta, and yellow can be combined using overlapping filters to form all other colors. When two of the subtractive primaries are combined in equal proportion, they form the additive primary whose wavelength they share. Thus overlapping filters of cyan (blue and green) and magenta (blue and red) filter out all wavelengths except blue; magenta (blue and red) and yellow (red and green) transmit only red; and yellow (red and green) and cyan (blue and green) transmit only green. Combining all three subtractive primaries in equal proportions filters out all wavelengths, producing black. Light striking a colored surface behaves similarly to light passing through a filter, with certain wavelengths being absorbed and others reflected. Pigments are combined to form different colors by a process of subtractive absorption of various wavelengths.


Dress and insignia that identify members of motorcycle clubs and other gangs: Many bars had signs on their doors listing their dress codes or other rules. The phrase ”no colors” was almost always part of such a list/ I’ve never seen anything that resembled colors or signs or whatever (1960s+ Motorcyclists)

Related Terms

with flying colors


Interesting background, esp details about players, etc, as used in sports coverage •A scholar in the mid-1920s wrote of color stuff as the enlivening human interest and spicy, inventive language used by sports writers to avoid mere facts: doing color, spoke of a shot put up by one of the players by calling it ”a Perot hook”: in, out, and in/ I told him I need some color for a magazine piece I’m doing (1938+ Media)

Related Terms

off color
In addition to the idiom beginning with


Read Also:

  • Color scotoma

    color scotoma n. An area of depressed color vision in the visual field.

  • Color-scheme

    noun 1. an arrangement or pattern of colors or colored objects conceived of as forming an integrated whole: the color scheme of a living room.

  • Color-sergeant

    noun 1. a sergeant who has charge of battalion or regimental colors.

  • Colorslide

    [kuhl-er-slahyd] /ˈkʌl ərˌslaɪd/ noun 1. a , mounted usually between cardboard or plastic masks or glass plates, for projection onto a screen.

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