Explore COLOURS Topic

amber amethyst apricot aquamarine ashen auburn azure bar barred beige black(a) black(n) black(v) black and white blacken bleed blood-red blue(a) blue(n) bluish bold bottle green brassy brindled bronze(n) bronze(a) brown(a) brown(n) buff burgundy carmine carroty cerise cerulean chartreuse cherry chestnut(n) chestnut(a) chromatic chrome yellow claret clear coffee colour cool copper coral cream creamy crimson cyan dappled dapple-grey Day-Glo discoloration discolour drab dull dun dusky dye ebony fawn flaxen flesh-coloured florid fluorescent flush fuchsia garish garnet gaudy gay ginger gold(n) gold(a) golden green(a) green(n) greenish grey(a) grey(n) greyish hazel indigo iridescent ivory jade jet-black khaki lavender leaden lemon lilac lily-white lime green livid loud luminous lurid magenta magnolia mahogany maroon match mauve mellow(a) mellow(v) monochrome mousy muddy multicoloured mustard muted navy blue neutral ochre off-white olive opalescent orange pale pastel(n) pastel(a) peach pea green pearly pepper-and-salt pink(a) pink(n) pinkish plum(n) plum(a) powder blue primary colour primrose prismatic puce pure purple purplish red(a) red(n) redden reddish redhead restrained rich rose(n) rose(a) roseate rose-coloured rosy royal blue ruby ruddy russet sable saffron scarlet sepia shade shocking pink sienna silver(n) silver(a) silvery sky-blue snow-white snowy soft sombre steely taupe tawny teal tint(n) tint(v) tone turquoise two-tone ultramarine umber vermilion vibrant violet warm waxen weak white(a) white(n) whiten whitish yellow(a) yellow(n) yellow(v) yellowy


1 noun
colour1 S1 W1 British English ; color American English

red/blue/green etc

[countable] red, blue, yellow, green, brown, purple etc:
What colour dress did you buy?
What colour are his eyes?
The pens come in a wide range of colours.
light/bright/pastel etc colour
I love wearing bright colours.
reddish-brown/yellowy-green/deep blue etc colour
The walls were a lovely reddish-brown color.

colour in general

[uncountable] also colours the appearance of something as a result of the way it reflects (=throws back) light, especially when its appearance is very bright or is made up of a lot of different colours:
Bright bold accessories are the quickest way to add colour to a room.
in colour
The wine was almost pink in colour (=was almost pink).
blaze/riot/mass of colour (=lots of different bright colours)
In summer the gardens are a blaze of colour.
a splash of colour (=a small area of a bright colour)
The sky began to slowly change colour.
the fall colors (=the colours of the trees in autumn)

somebody's race

[uncountable and countable]HBH how dark or light someone's skin is, which shows which race they belong to:
Everyone has a right to a job, regardless of their race, sex, or colour.
people of all colors
the continuing battle against colour prejudice

people/women/students etc of color

especially American English people, women etc who are not white:
I'm the only person of color in my class.


[uncountable and countable] a substance such as paint or dye that makes something red, blue, yellow etc:
Wash the garment separately, as the colour may run (=come out when washed).
jams that contain no artificial colours or preservatives
lip/nail/eye colour
our new range of eyeshadows and lip colours

in (full) colour

AMT a television programme, film, or photograph that is in colour contains colours such as red, green, and blue rather than just black and white [≠ in black and white]:
All the recipes in the book are illustrated in full colour.

somebody's face

[uncountable]HBH if you have some colour in your face, your face is pink or red, usually because you are healthy or embarrassed:
You look a lot better today. At least you've got a bit of colour now.
One of the girls giggled nervously as colour flooded her cheeks (=her cheeks suddenly went very pink or red).
He stared at her, the colour draining from his face.

something interesting

[uncountable] interesting and exciting details or qualities that someone or something has:
The old market is lively, full of colour and activity.
a travel writer in search of local colour
add/give colour to something (=make something more interesting)
Intelligent use of metaphors can add colour to your writing.

lend/give colour to something

to make something, especially something unusual, appear likely or true:
We have new evidence that lends colour to the accusation of fraud.

off colour

a) [not before noun] British English someone who is off colour is feeling slightly ill
b) [usually before noun] especially American English off-colour jokes, stories etc are rude and often about sex


a) the colours that are used to represent a team, school, club, country etc
club/team/school colours
a cap in the team colours
Australia's national colours are gold and green.
b) British English a flag, shirt etc that shows that someone or something belongs to or supports a particular team, school, club, or country

see the colour of somebody's money

spoken to have definite proof that someone has enough money to pay for something:
'A whiskey, please.' 'Let's see the color of your money first.'

➔ with flying colours

at flying1 (2)

; ➔ nail your colours to the mast

at nail2 (5)

; ➔ your true colours

at true1 (13)
WORD FOCUS: colour WORD FOCUS: colour
a particular kind of colour: shade, hint, hue

words for describing dark colours: dark, deep, rich

words for describing light colours: light, pale, soft, pastel

words for describing bright colours: bright, brilliant, vivid, garish disapproving, gaudy disapproving

having a lot of colours: colourful, multicoloured British English/multicolored American English
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