Definition of ochre in English:


(US ocher)


  • 1[mass noun] An earthy pigment containing ferric oxide, typically with clay, varying from light yellow to brown or red.

    [with modifier] ‘yellow ochre’
    • ‘The Aztec courtesans used a pale yellow ochre powder on their faces to make them look beautiful.’
    • ‘The most traditional way of coloring the runes would be with red ocher.’
    • ‘The tunic, jerkin and pleated skirt she was wearing were in shades of red: from almost brownish ochre to bright red trim.’
    • ‘Each painting is created using traditional ochre and natural pigments.’
    • ‘They smear their bodies with ochre, a reddish pigment extracted from iron ore.’
    • ‘Visual entry to the central space is impeded by two thin horizontal lines in ocher and charcoal.’
    • ‘A streak of yellow ochre holds a form together, but on perusal, it becomes a muscle, the features of a face or a spinal column.’
    • ‘The bank is steep ochre clay, water-scoured by spring floods and melt from the retreating glaciers to the east.’
    • ‘The palette is severely limited: blacks, grays, browns, and the acidic yellow ochre of the faces.’
    • ‘Devout persons, offering sacrifices of fruit, yak butter or flowers, touch and kiss the idol, which is tinted with red ochre.’
    • ‘Each footstep raised a small cloud of dusty ochre Virginia clay, turning the olive drab of my fatigues a rusty red.’
    • ‘Painting skin, stones, or twigs with clay or red ochre.’
    • ‘He prepares red ocher, the most holy of pigments, a token of life.’
    • ‘But the traditional colours used for the art remain ochre red and yellow, shades of blue and white and black.’
    • ‘We get the red ochre by cooking the yellow over a fire.’
    • ‘Materials we have seen include fine clay, ochre, and, especially, charcoal.’
    • ‘Today, their thick white walls and ocher terracotta roofs stand out from the lush green rain forest that surrounds them.’
    • ‘Elderly women still prefer red and dye their own cloth with ochre (a natural pigment).’
    • ‘Décor is mostly soft ochre and saffron in colour, with contemporary furniture.’
    • ‘She might have finished the look with saffron eye shadow and lip balm tinted with ocher and alkanet root.’
    1. 1.1A pale brownish yellow colour.
      • ‘The concrete is coloured a warm ochre that recalls the traditional earthy hues of Toledo's buildings.’
      • ‘It is a triangular piece of ochre or saffron coloured cloth with the Khanda emblem in the middle.’
      • ‘I used a mixture of green, sienna, brown and ochre.’
      • ‘The walls are freshly painted in strong colours from yellow to ochre, or pink and bright blue.’
      • ‘Her ocher splotch and muted browns matched the castle.’
      • ‘To his eye, the blue looked right, and that color prompted him to paint a neighboring square yellow ochre, and so on.’
      • ‘The landscape was colored mainly in dark ocher, with occasional areas in malachite green.’
      • ‘When the first Aurovilians arrived, they were confronted with a parched barren ochre coloured landscape.’
      • ‘The hues, one to a box, ranged widely, including signal red, cadmium blue and yellow ocher.’
      • ‘But the water is ochre in colour and tastes bitter.’
      • ‘What a strange ritual, I mused as the last of the drink seeped into the ground, producing an interesting ochre colour.’
      • ‘The white sky and weedy ocher landscape have the blurry quality of an out-of-focus photograph.’
      • ‘The head is flanked on each side by a solitary and disheveled palm tree painted in dirty grays and yellow ochre.’
      • ‘Their stormy, nocturnal pigments of brown, rust, orange and ocher, mixed with black and white, seem to thicken like wet sand.’
      • ‘My skin is pink and my yellow hair turned ochre from the force of it.’
      • ‘Spore prints can be ochre in colour but difficult to obtain.’
      • ‘A beautiful ceramic pot is always a lovely surprise; current designer colours in yellow, mauve, red, ochre and white are terrific.’
      • ‘It will be a warm, ochre colour, not a deep shade, more golden than brown.’
      • ‘Chickpeas are almost always sold in dried form, whether split or not, and are of an ochre or pale brown colour in this form.’
      • ‘On the other, artists from the Kimberley region in the northwest use dots sparingly to outline broad areas of ochre color.’


Middle English: from Old French ocre, via Latin from Greek ōkhra yellow ochre.