What does purple mean?

Definitions for purple
ˈpɜr pəlpur·ple

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word purple.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. purple, purplenessnoun

    a purple color or pigment

  2. purpleadjective

    of imperial status

    "he was born to the purple"

  3. purple, violet, purplishadjective

    of a color intermediate between red and blue

  4. empurpled, over-embellished, purpleadjective

    excessively elaborate or showily expressed

    "a writer of empurpled literature"; "many purple passages"; "an over-embellished story of the fish that got away"

  5. imperial, majestic, purple, regal, royalverb

    belonging to or befitting a supreme ruler

    "golden age of imperial splendor"; "purple tyrant"; "regal attire"; "treated with royal acclaim"; "the royal carriage of a stag's head"

  6. purpleverb

    become purple

  7. purple, empurple, purpurateverb

    color purple


  1. purplenoun

    The colour worn by an emperor or king; by extension, imperial power.

  2. purplenoun

    Any of various species of mollusks from which Tyrian purple dye was obtained, especially the common dog whelk.

  3. purplenoun

    the purple haze cultivar of cannabis in the kush family, either pure or mixed with others, or by extension any variety of smoked marijuana

  4. purpleverb

    To turn purple in colour.

  5. purpleadjective

    Having a colour/color that is a dark blend of red and blue.

  6. purpleadjective

    Not predominantly red or blue, but having a mixture of Democrat and Republican support, as in purple state, purple city.

  7. purpleadjective

    Mixed between social democrats and liberals.

  8. Etymology: From purpel, from purple, purpure, from purpura, from πορφύρα, of Semitic origin.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PURPLEadjective

    Etymology: pourpre, Fr. purpureus, Lat.

    The poop was beaten gold,
    Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
    The winds were love-sick with e’m. William Shakespeare.

    You violets, that first appear,
    By your pure purple mantles known;
    What are you when the rose is blown? Henry Wotton.

    A small oval plate, cut off a flinty pebble, and polished, is prettily variegated with a pale grey, blue, yellow, and purple. John Woodward, on Fossils.

    I view a field of blood,
    And Tyber rolling with a purple flood. Dryden.

    Their mangled limbs
    Crashing at once, death dyes the purple seas
    With gore. James Thomson, Summer.

  2. To Purpleverb

    To make red; to colour with purple.

    Etymology: purpuro, Lat.

    Whilst your purpled hands do reak and smoak,
    Fulfil your pleasure. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

    Cruel and suddain, hast thou since
    Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence? John Donne.

    Though fall’n on evil days,
    In darkness, and with dangers compass’d round,
    And solitude! yet, not alone, while thou
    Visit’st my slumbers nightly; or when morn
    Purples the East. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. xxx.

    Throw hither all your quaint enamel’d eyes,
    That on the green turf such the honied show’rs,
    And purple all the ground with vernal flow’rs. John Milton.

    Aurora had but newly chas’d the night,
    And purpled o’er the sky with blushing light. Dryden.

    Not with more glories in th’ ethereal plain,
    The sun first rises o’er the purpled main. Alexander Pope.

    Reclining soft in blissful bow’rs,
    Purpled sweet with springing flow’rs. Elijah Fenton.


  1. Purple

    Purple is any of a variety of colors with hue between red and blue. In the RGB color model used in computer and television screens, purples are produced by mixing red and blue light. In the RYB color model historically used by painters, purples are created with a combination of red and blue pigments. In the CMYK color model used in printing, purples are made by combining magenta pigment with either cyan pigment, black pigment, or both. Purple has long been associated with royalty, originally because Tyrian purple dye, made from the mucus secretion of a species of snail, was extremely expensive in antiquity. Purple was the color worn by Roman magistrates; it became the imperial color worn by the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, and later by Roman Catholic bishops. Similarly in Japan, the color is traditionally associated with the emperor and aristocracy.According to contemporary surveys in Europe and the United States, purple is the color most often associated with rarity, royalty, magic, mystery, and piety. When combined with pink, it is associated with eroticism, femininity, and seduction.


  1. purple

    Purple is a color that is a blend of blue and red. Its hue can range from a light, lavender shade to a dark, violet tone. It is often associated with royalty, luxury, power, creativity, and magic. In the RGB color model, it is created by combining a strong intensity of red light and blue light.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Purplenoun

    a color formed by, or resembling that formed by, a combination of the primary colors red and blue

  2. Purplenoun

    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; as, to put on the imperial purple

  3. Purplenoun

    hence: Imperial sovereignty; royal rank, dignity, or favor; loosely and colloquially, any exalted station; great wealth

  4. Purplenoun

    a cardinalate. See Cardinal

  5. Purplenoun

    any species of large butterflies, usually marked with purple or blue, of the genus Basilarchia (formerly Limenitis) as, the banded purple (B. arthemis). See Illust. under Ursula

  6. Purplenoun

    any shell of the genus Purpura

  7. Purplenoun

    see Purpura

  8. Purplenoun

    a disease of wheat. Same as Earcockle

  9. Purpleadjective

    exhibiting or possessing the color called purple, much esteemed for its richness and beauty; of a deep red, or red and blue color; as, a purple robe

  10. Purpleadjective

    imperial; regal; -- so called from the color having been an emblem of imperial authority

  11. Purpleadjective

    blood-red; bloody

  12. Purpleverb

    to make purple; to dye of purple or deep red color; as, hands purpled with blood

  13. Etymology: [OE. purpre, pourpre, OF. purpre, porpre, pourpre, F. pourpre, L. purpura purple fish, purple dye, fr. Gr. the purple fish, a shell from the purple dye was obtained, purple dye; cf. dark (said of the sea), purple, to grow dark (said of the sea), to be troubled; perh. akin to L. furere to rage, E. fury: cf. AS. purpure. Cf. Porphyry, Purpure.]


  1. Purple

    Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as a deep, rich shade between crimson and violet. In the ancient world, purple was the color worn by Roman Emperors and magistrates, and later by Roman Catholic bishops. Since that time, purple has been commonly associated with royalty and piety.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Purple

    pur′pl, n. a very dark-red colour formed by the mixture of blue and red: a purple dress or robe, originally worn only by royalty: a robe of honour: the dignity of a king or emperor: a cardinalate, so called from the red hat and robes worn by cardinals.—adj. red tinged with blue: blood-red: bloody.—v.t. to dye purple: to clothe with purple.—v.i. to become purple in colour.—n. Pur′ple-fish, a shellfish of genus Purpura.—adjs. Pur′ple-frost′y (Tenn.), purple with frost or cold; Pur′ple-hued (Shak.), having a purple hue.—n.pl. Pur′ples, petechiæ or spots of livid red on the body: a disease of wheat: an early purple-flowered orchid.—adj. Pur′ple-spiked, having purple spikes.—ns. Pur′ple-wood, -heart, the heartwood of Copaifera pubiflora, used for ramrods.—adj. Pur′plish, somewhat purple.—Purple emperor, one of the largest of British butterflies, and one of the most richly coloured.—Born in the purple, of princely rank or birth; Tyrian purple, a fine purple dye for which the people of ancient Tyre were celebrated. [O. Fr. porpre (Fr. pourpre)—L. purpura—Gr. porphyra, the purple-fish.]

Etymology and Origins

  1. Purple

    This dye, in which the people of Tyre excelled, was discovered in the following manner:--One day a favourite dog of Hercules of Tyre ate a species of fish known to the ancients by the name of purpura, and on returning to his master his lips were found to be tinged with the colour, which, after a few experiments, Hercules successfully imitated.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Purple is ranked #58182 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Purple surname appeared 349 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Purple.

    93.9% or 328 total occurrences were White.
    2.2% or 8 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 5 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'purple' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4541

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'purple' in Adjectives Frequency: #950

How to pronounce purple?

How to say purple in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of purple in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of purple in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of purple in a Sentence

  1. Carl Greenwood:

    They hate that alternative work schedule with a purple passion.

  2. David Nieman:

    We are producing some of the first human studies showing plant polyphenols? the naturally occurring chemicals in fruits and vegetables that give them their colors like purple, red and yellow? work with the immune system to help clear viruses and keep their ability to multiply under control.

  3. Kelly Johnson-Arbor:

    Some of these products look very enticing, they may be yellow or purple in color, and they might resemble a juice or some other products that a child is used to playing with.

  4. Donald Herman Voigt:

    Well, I was just a kid at the time and I wasnt sure why I received the award as I was doing what I was sent and trained to do.It happened so fast - I was injured by shrapnel, sent to sickbay and given the Purple Heart, then --it was gone.I just thought Id never get it back again so to have it would be pretty wonderful as I didnt really realize at the time just how much it meant.

  5. Steve Cohen:

    If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for purple

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"purple." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/purple>.

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    a disposition that is confused or nervous and upset
    • A. aberrate
    • B. fluster
    • C. abrade
    • D. flub

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