Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Purple is any of a group of colours intermediate between blue and red. On a chromaticity diagram, the straight line connecting the extreme spectral colours (red and violet) is known as the line of purples (or purple boundary); it represents one limit of human colour perception. The color magenta used in the CMYK printing process is on the line of purples, but most people associate the term "purple" with a somewhat bluer shade.


Purple sometimes symbolizes royalty, dating back to Roman times, when clothing dyed with Tyrian purple was limited to the upper classes.

Purple as one of the liturgical colours in Christian symbolism can express sorrow and mourning.

A light purple or lavender often symbolises feminism.

In politics in the Netherlands, purple means a government coalition of right-liberals and socialists (symbolized by blue and red, respectively), as opposed to the more common coalitions of the Christian center-party with one of the other two. From 1994-2002 there have been two purple cabinets, see also Politics of the Netherlands and Paars (Dutch word for 'purple').

Purple is the name given by US cryptographers to a device used to encypher and decipher encrypted messages, developed by a Japanese Naval officer. It was used for the highest security messages between the Japanese Foreign Office and embassies and consulates worldwide from 1939. See Purple code.

Purple is a somewhat rare English/U.S. surname. In the United States Purples tend to come either from Connecticut or upper New York State.