Colour vs Colourable - What's the difference?

colour | colourable |

As adjectives the difference between colour and colourable

is that colour is conveying colour, as opposed to shades of grey while colourable is (obsolete) colourful.

As a noun colour

is (lb) the spectral composition of visible light.

As a verb colour

is to give something colour.



(Color) {{ picdic , image=Color circle (hue-sat).png , width=310 , labels= , detail1=Click on labels in the image }} Alternative forms * color (US) (see the below)


  • (lb) The spectral composition of visible light.
  • :
  • (lb) A particular set of visible spectral compositions, perceived or named as a class.
  • *, chapter=5
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=Here, in the transept and choir, where the service was being held, one was conscious every moment of an increasing brightness; colours glowing vividly beneath the circular chandeliers, and the rows of small lights on the choristers' desks flashed and sparkled in front of the boys' faces, deep linen collars, and red neckbands.}}
  • (lb) Hue as opposed to achromatic colours (black, white and greys).
  • :
  • (lb) Human skin tone, especially as an indicator of race or ethnicity.
  • :
  • (lb) Interest, especially in a selective area.
  • :
  • *
  • *:Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with (by way of local colour ) on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust.
  • (lb) Any of the standard dark tinctures used in a coat of arms, including azure, gules, sable, and vert. Contrast with metal.
  • (lb) A standard or banner.
  • :
  • The system of colour television.
  • :
  • (lb) An award for sporting achievement, particularly within a school or university.
  • :
  • In corporate finance, details on sales, profit margins, or other financial figures, especially while reviewing quarterly results when an officer of a company is speaking to investment analysts.
  • :
  • (lb) A property of quarks, with three values called red, green, and blue, which they can exchange by passing gluons.
  • (lb) The relative lightness or darkness of a mass of written or printed text on a page.
  • (lb) Any of the coloured balls excluding the reds.
  • A front or : an ostensible truth actually false.
  • An appearance of right or authority.
  • :
  • (lb) Skin colour noted as: normal, jaundice, cyanotic, flush, mottled, pale, or ashen as part of the skin signs assessment.
  • Usage notes

    The late (etyl) colour'', which is the standard UK spelling, has been the usual spelling in Britain since the 14th century and was chosen by (1828), along with favor, honor, etc., and is currently the standard US spelling. In Canada, colour'' is preferred, but ''color'' is not unknown; in Australia, ''-our'' endings are the standard, although ''-or'' endings had some currency in the past and are still sporadically found in some regions. In New Zealand, ''-our endings are the standard.


    * (spectral composition of visible light) blee * (particular set named as a class) blee, hue * hue, shade, blee * (human skin tone as an indicator of race or ethnicity) colour of one’s skin, complexion, blee, ethnicity, race * interest * (dark tincture) stain * (standard or banner) banner, standard * (colour television) colour television

    Derived terms

    * colour-blind * colour charge * colour code * colour commentator * coloured * colourful * colour of fire * flame-colour * colourimeter * colourise * colourism * colourless * colours * discoloration * in colour * off-colour * prismatic colours * true colours


  • Conveying colour, as opposed to shades of grey.
  • Colour television and films were considered a great improvement over black and white.


    (en verb)
  • To give something colour.
  • We could colour the walls red.
  • To apply colours to the areas within the boundaries of a line drawing using coloured markers or crayons.
  • My kindergartener loves to colour .
  • (of a face) To become red through increased blood flow.
  • ''Her face coloured as she realised her mistake.
  • To affect without completely changing.
  • That interpretation certainly colours my perception of the book.
  • (informal) To attribute a quality to.
  • Colour me confused.
  • (mathematics) To assign colours to the vertices of (a graph) or the regions of (a map) so that no two adjacent ones have the same colour.
  • Can this graph be two-coloured ?
    You can colour any map with four colours.


    * (give something colour) dye, paint, stain, shade, tinge, tint * (apply colours within boundaries of a line drawing) * blush * (affect without completely changing) affect, influence * (attribute a quality to) call

    Derived terms

    * colour by numbers

    See also

    * tincture *


    * 1000 English basic words ----



    Alternative forms

    * colorable (American spelling)


  • (obsolete) Colourful.
  • Apparently true; specious; potentially justifiable.
  • *, II.8:
  • *:Doth the master make any bargaine, or dispatch that pleaseth not? it is immediately smothered and suppressed, soone after forging causes, and devising colourable excuses, to excuse the want of execution or answer.
  • *1612 , , Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia'', Chapel Hill 1988 (''Select Edition of his Writings ), p.178:
  • they told him their comming was for some extraordinary tooles and shift of apparell; by this colourable excuse, they obtained 6. or 7. more to their confederacie.
  • * 2003 , Ofer Raban, Modern legal theory and judicial impartiality , p.83:
  • These three examples have what may be called a 'colourable ' claim for a public justification: they do not appear to us as checkerboard statues because, looking at the distinctions they draw, we presume the required justification does exist .
  • Deceptive; fake, misleading.
  • * 1590 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , III.iii:
  • Glauce , what needs this colourable word, / To cloke the cause, that hath it selfe bewrayd?
  • That can be coloured.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1811, author=Daniel Ellis
  • , title= Farther inquiries into the changes induced on atmospheric air, by the germination of seeds, the vegetation of plants, and the respiration of animals, page=117 , passage=This matter, however, is not itself coloured, but is only capable of exhibiting colours, by the addition of other matters : and hence we have ventured to call it the colourable , rather than the colouring parts of the plant, by which we merely indicate its property of becoming coloured, but not its actual possession of colour.}}
  • * {{quote-journal, isbn=0720408431, page=259
  • , year=1978, author=A. G. Thomason, journal=Advances in graph theory: Volume 1977 , title= Hamiltonian Cycles and Uniquely Edge Colorable Graphs , passage=These results were discovered whilst investigating uniquely edge colourable graphs.}}
  • * 1992 , STACS 92, 9th Annual Symposium on Theoretical Aspects of Computer Science , edited by A. Finkel and M. Jantzen, page 397:
  • A circle graph with no cycle of length four is colourable with three colours.

    Usage notes

    The sense "that can be coloured" is more common in American than in British English.