Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The robe of fine Milesian texture, was saffron-coloured, with a purple edge.

"But there should be another one," cried the man in the purple coat.

To one familiar with savage peoples there could be no doubt that these were close to the purple.

They dropped from his grasp, and I saw that his fingers were purple and black.

Gather the grapes when they are full grown, but before they begin to purple.

She had on a plaid shawl of purple, green, and red checkers, crossed on her bosom.

Mattup's face was purple and his eyes looked like wolves' eyes.

The fire burned with a purple flame, and its glow leaped along the walls.

A youth clad in a purple gown and wearing a lofty hat entered.

Suddenly he saw two persons in purple robes who had a summons in their hands.


Old English purpul, dissimilation (first recorded in Northumbrian, in Lindisfarne gospel) of purpure "purple dye, a purple garment," purpuren (adj.) "purple," a borrowing by 9c. from Latin purpura "purple color, purple-dyed cloak, purple dye," also "shellfish from which purple was made," and "splendid attire generally," from Greek porphyra "purple dye, purple" (cf. porphyry), of uncertain origin, perhaps Semitic, originally the name for the shellfish (murex) from which it was obtained. Purpur continued as a parallel form until 15c., and through 19c. in heraldry. As a color name, attested from early 15c. Tyrian purple, produced around Tyre, was prized as dye for royal garments.

Also the color of mourning or penitence (especially in royalty or clergy). Rhetorical for "splendid, gaudy" (of prose) from 1590s. Purple Heart, U.S. decoration for service members wounded in combat, instituted 1932; originally a cloth decoration begun by George Washington in 1782. Hendrix' Purple Haze (1967) is slang for "LSD."


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.