range of colors with the hues between blue and red

Purple is a colour similar in appearance to violet light. In the RYB colour model historically used in the arts, purple is a secondary colour created by combining red and blue pigments.

This grave tenderness of the far-away hill-purples ~ John Ruskin
In like wyse as the robes of purpure maketh fayr and enbelissheth the body, the same wyse vertues makyth the sowle ~ William Caxton
That purple-linèd palace of sweet sin ~ John Keats
No marvell therefore if Purples be so much sought for: and men are to be held excused, if they runne a madding after Purples ~ Pliny the Elder
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it ~ Alice Walker


  • Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple;
  • And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
  • There is the sea—shall any stanch it up?—
    Still breeding, for its worth of silver weight,
    Abundant stain, freshly renewable,
    For purpling robes withal: nay, Heaven be praised,
    The house, my lord, affords us plenty such;
    ’Tis not acquainted yet with penury.
    I had vowed the trampling of a thousand robes,
    Had the oracles enjoined it when I sought
    Means for recovery of a life so precious!
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 958—974 [Spoken by Clytæmnestra]
    • Walter Headlam, The Agamemnon of Æschylus (1910), pp. 117-119
  • And then beneath a shapely chin
    Let every Grace fly out and in
    About a marble throat; the rest
    Be in a chastened purple drest,
    But let her flesh peep here and there
    The lines of beauty to declare.
    • Anacreontea, 16. To a Painter, how to Paint his Beloved
    • J. M. Edmonds, Elegy and Iambus, with the Anacreontea, Vol. 2 (1931), p. 43
  • But for the Diva’s use bestrewn is the genial bedstead,
    Hidden in midmost stead, and its polisht framework of Indian
    Tusk underlies its cloth empurpled by juice of the dye-shell.
  • Purples live ordinarily seven yeares. They lie hidden for thirtie daies space about the dog daies, like as the Murices or Burrets doe. They meet together by troupes in the spring, and with rubbing one against another, they gather and yeeld a certaine clammie substance and moisture in manner of waxe. The Murices doe the like. But that beautifull colour, so much in request for dying of fine cloth, the Purples have in the midst of their neck and jawes. And nothing else it is, but a little thin liquor within a white veine: and that is it which maketh that rich, fresh, and bright colour of deepe red purple roses. As for all the rest of this fish, it yeeldeth nothing. Fishers strive to take them alive, for when they die, they cast up and shed that precious teinture and juice, together with their life. Now the Tyrians, when they light upon any great Purples, they take the flesh out of their shels, for to get the bloud out of the said vein: but the lesser, they presse and grind incertainem illes, and so gather that rich humour which issueth from them. The best purple colour in Asia is this, thus gotten at Tyros. But in Affricke, within the Island Merinx, and the coast of the Ocean by Getuliia. And in Europe, that of Laconica. This is that glorious colour, so full of state and majestie, that the Roman Lictors with their rods, halberds, and axes, make way for: this is it that graceth and setteth out the children of princes and noblemen: this maketh the distinction betweene a knight and consellor of state: this is called for and put on when they offer sacrifice to pacifie the gods: this giveth a lustre to all sorts of garments: and to conclude, our great Generals of the field, and victorious captaines in their triumphs weare this purple in their mantels, enterlaced and embrodered with gold among. No marvell therefore if Purples be so much sought for: and men are to be held excused, if they runne a madding after Purples.
  • And then is it thought to have a most commendable and excellent die, when it is as deepe a red as bloud that is cold and setled, blackish at the first sight, but looke betweene you and the light, it carieth a bright and shining lustre. And hereupon it is, that Homer calleth bloud, Purple.
  • I find in Chronicles, that Purple hath ben used in Rome time out of mind. Howbeit, king Romulus never ware it but in his roiall habite or mantell of estate, called Trabea. And well known it is, Tullus Hostilius was the first Romane king, who after he had subdued the Tuscanes, put on the long purple robe named Pretexta, and the cassock broched and studded with scarlet in broad guards. Nepos Cornelius who died in the daies of Augustus Cæsar the Emperour, When (quoth he) I was a young man, the light violet purple was rife and in great request, and a pound of it was sold for a hundred deniers: and not long after the Tarentine red purple or skarlet was much called for, and of the same price. But after it, came the fine double died purple of Tyros, called Dibapha: and a man could not buy a pound of it for a thousand deniers, which was the price of ten pound of the other. P. Lentulus Spinther in his Ædileship of the chaire, first ware a long robe embrodered with it, and was checked and blamed therefore. But now adaies (quoth Nepos) what is he that will not hang his parlour and dining chamber therewith, and have carpets, cushins, and cup-bord clothes thereof?
  • The kynge must be thus maad. For he must sytte in a chayer clothyd in purpure, crowned on his heed, in his right hond a ceptre, and in the lift honde an apple of golde, for he is the most grettest and hyest in dygnyté above al other and most worthy. And that is signyfyed by the corone, for the glorie of the peple is the dygnyté of the kyng. And above al other the kyng ought to be replenysshed with vertues and of grace. And this signyfieth the purpure, for in like wyse as the robes of purpure maketh fayr and enbelissheth the body, the same wyse vertues makyth the sowle.
  • A vile Conceit in pompous words express’d
    Is like a clown in regal purple dress’d:
  • That purple-linèd palace of sweet sin,
  • O for a beaker full of the warm South!
      Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
        With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
            And purple-stainèd mouth;
  • For consider, first, the difference produced in the whole tone of landscape colour by the introductions of purple, violet, and deep ultramarine blue, which we owe to mountains. In an ordinary lowland landscape we have the blue of the sky; the green of grass, which I will suppose (and this is an unnecessary concession to the lowlands) entirely fresh and bright; the green of trees; and certain elements of purple, far more rich and beautiful than we generally should think, in their bark and shadows (bare hedges and thickets, or tops of trees, in subdued afternoon sunshine, are nearly perfect purple, and of an exquisite tone), as well as in ploughed fields, and dark ground in general. But among mountains, in addition to all this, large unbroken spaces of pure violet and purple are introduced in their distances; and even near, by films of cloud passing over the darkness of ravines or forests, blues are produced of the most subtle tenderness; these azures and purples passing into rose-colour of otherwise wholly unattainable delicacy among the upper summits, the blue of the sky being at the same time purer and deeper than in the plains. Nay, in some sense, a person who has never seen the rose-colour of the rays of dawn crossing a blue mountain twelve or fifteen miles away, can hardly be said to know what tenderness in colour means at all; bright tenderness he may, indeed, see in the sky or in a flower, but this grave tenderness of the far-away hill-purples he cannot conceive.
    • John Ruskin, Modern Painters, Vol. 4 (1856), pp. 346–347
  • And I charged you with extortions
      On the nobler fames of old,—
    Ay, and sometimes thought your Porsons
      Stained the purple they would fold.
  • Weave purple for his shrunken hips! and purple for his barren loins!
  • From purple glory to scarlet pomp;
  • Now Fancy, empress of a purpled realm,
    Awakes with brow caressed by poppy-bloom,
    • George Sterling, "A Wine of Wizardry"
  • O that I were lying under the olives!
    So should I see the far-off cities
    Glittering low by the purple water,
    Gleaming high on the purple mountain;
    See where the road goes winding southward.
    It passes the valleys of almond blossom,
    Curves round the crag o’er the steep-hanging orchards,
    Where almond and peach are aflush ’mid the olives—
    Hardly the amethyst sea shines through them—
    Over it cypress on solemn cypress
    Lead to the lonely pilgrimage places.
  • I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
  • Homer: Donut?
    Lisa: No thanks. Do you have any fruit?
    Homer: This has purple stuff inside. Purple is a fruit.
  • It's a lovely colour, purple, discretely sandwiched within the colour spectrum between blue and white.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931)

  • “The purple light,” said Rhoda, “in Miss Lambert’s ring passes to and fro across the black stain on the white page of the Prayer Book. It is a vinous, it is an amorous light. ...”
  • She lets her tasselled silken cloak slip down, and only her purple ring still glows, her vinous, her amethystine ring.
  • But on the other hand, where you are various and dimple a million times to the ideas and laughter of others, I shall be sullen, storm-tinted and all one purple.
  • I luxuriate in gold and purple vestments.
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