colour

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun the set of differing wavelengths of light that are reflected from objects and sensed by the eyes
  • verb to give colour to something

Astronomy

  • Property of light caused by the mix of different wavelengths it contains. Light of a single wavelength is called monochromatic, one-colour. The colours of the rainbow show the spectrum from which the other visual colours are made by mixing. In addition, astronomers apply the term colour to radiation in non-visible wavelengths and use terms derived from visual observation to describe it. Thus they call radio signals with a wide range of energy ‘white’ since white light contains all the spectrum colours in balanced amounts, and talk about redshifts in invisible frequencies.

Commerce

  • noun a shade which an object has in light (red, blue, yellow, etc.)

Media Studies

  • adjective referring to an article or section of an article, focusing more on descriptions, impressions and subjective reporting rather than impartial reporting of the facts
  • noun the type and amount of inks used in a printing job

Military

  • noun a ceremonial flag of a unit or sub-unit

Publishing

  • noun the lightness or darkness of a particular typeface, when compared to other faces

Wine

  • the classification of a wine as red, white, or rosé
  • the hue and intensity of a wine. The colour of a wine changes with age, and red wines fade and turn brick red while white wines darken to a rich amber colour.

Origin & History of “colour”

The Old English words for ‘colour’ were hīw ‘hue’ and blēo, but from the 13th century onwards they were gradually replaced by Old French colour. this came from Latin color, which appears to have come ultimately from an Indo-European base *kel- ‘hide’ (source also of apocalypse, cell, clandestine, conceal, and occult). This suggests that its original underlying meaning was ‘outward appearance, hiding what is inside’, a supposition supported by the long history of such senses of English colour as ‘outward (deceptive) appearance’ and ‘(specious) plausibility’ (as in ‘lend colour to a notion’).
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