Definition of palette in English:



  • 1A thin board or slab on which an artist lays and mixes colours.

    • ‘At first sight, his canvases resemble palettes and drop cloths rather than finished compositions.’
    • ‘The artist's easel, paint box, palettes, paintbrushes and dried tubes of paint occupied a corner.’
    • ‘With the rain keeping away for the day, the children, armed with drawing boards, paint, brushes and palettes, waited patiently for the 2002 edition of the competition to commence.’
    • ‘The portrait is dominated by her own image, holding a palette and a paintbrush in her hands.’
    • ‘The inventory of the contents of his studio made for probate purposes after his death lists a few standard items of equipment - easels, palettes, canvases - but nothing to hint at any unusual working method.’
    • ‘Every one also has easels standing tall, accompanied by a weathered table speckled with paint and sporting a paintbox and palettes.’
    • ‘Consequently Seurat did not mix the colors on his palette, but rather put little tiny spots of complementary color pigments on the canvas.’
    1. 1.1The range of colours used by a particular artist or in a particular picture.
      ‘Pollock's hard, bright palette’
      • ‘When translated into watercolor on silk, her paintings retain both the muted palette and slightly wrinkled texture of the leaf collages.’
      • ‘The colour palette encompasses charcoal greys, tawny autumnal greens, silver and white.’
      • ‘Japanese watercolours shown at Far East exhibitions in Paris in the late nineteenth century affected the compositions and palettes of Matisse, Whistler, and Degas.’
      • ‘Her early work consisted mostly of impressionistic nudes and still lifes painted with a bold palette.’
      • ‘The colour palette includes subdued beiges, burgundies and charcoal blues on high-back chairs and sectional wall panels.’
      • ‘Lavishness of decoration, mastery of execution, expansion of palettes with mixed colours are some of the characteristics of Assam's manuscript paintings.’
      • ‘His palette drew from nature: heavy, dense ochres, browns, taupes and alizarin crimson.’
      • ‘The colour palette is primarily pastel - baby pink, sherbet lemon, ice blue and lilac, with a splash of vibrant red in the suit range.’
      • ‘If I were an artist, the colours on my palette would be browns, ochres and purples.’
      • ‘His minimalist style of drawing and limited palette of colours are far from painterly, however.’
      • ‘In 1626 he moved to Leiden, where he painted vanitas subjects and increasingly adopted the monochrome palette of Haarlem still-life painters.’
      • ‘Underlit by a blanket of fine coral sand, the colour of the ocean has the tropical palette of a Paul Gauguin painting and its turquoise-spearmint hues never dull with repeat viewing.’
      • ‘The palettes of these French artists, as well as the time the Scotsmen spent in the brilliant light of the south of France, had an important and lasting effect on their work.’
      • ‘The reduced colour in this painting already reveals McCahon's sympathy for a monochrome palette.’
      • ‘The rendering is so precise that these gouaches - each in a dominant palette of blues, greens, yellows or pinks - could pass for digital prints.’
      • ‘In the meantime, as you try to make up your mind, the striking palette and stylized figures are more than sufficient to hold your attention.’
      • ‘In this, the colour palette is darker and the drawings simpler and more stylised.’
      • ‘Its restrained palette, the sinuous, loopy drawing, and the interplay of seemingly simple forms and planes present a highly cerebral visual game.’
      • ‘Rouault trained with Matisse at Moreau's academy and exhibited with the Fauves, but his palette of colors and profound subject matter place him as an early, if isolated Expressionist.’
      • ‘Later, however, he turned to oil on canvas; his palette became lighter, with an emphasis on yellows.’
    2. 1.2The range or variety of tonal or instrumental colour in a musical piece.
      ‘he commands the sort of tonal palette which this music needs’
      • ‘Nield essayed the daunting, high lying solo flute line with brilliance and a lustrous tonal palette.’
      • ‘The composer uses an identical palette of instrumental colourings for his glorious finale.’
      • ‘Here, the composer shows you his emotional and musical palette at its widest, if not its deepest.’
      • ‘Many artists offer a wide-ranging palette of styles and sound treatments.’
      • ‘Nothing about Cathy could hide unnoticed, appear in muted pastels, or be restricted to the palette between pianissimo and mezzo piano.’
      • ‘Perhaps the rich palette of musical veins gushing out in Beloslava's songs are in some way connected to the many countries she has visited.’
      • ‘But in the end he realized that was another way he was being manipulated, his music put into a box, his musical palette circumscribed.’
      • ‘Just as music has steadily extended its harmonic and dynamic palettes, so the normal range of tempos has probably grown.’
      • ‘I grew up with my grandparents and their old-timey music, and my mom and dad were swingers in London in the '60s; they tried to broaden my musical palette.’
      • ‘The Zehetmair Quartet has a huge tonal palette available, and uses it all as it strives to make Schumann's scores live for us.’
      • ‘Her melting tonal palette seemed to redefine the music.’
      • ‘His dazzling virtuosity and sweeping tonal palette made the music truly live.’
      • ‘Raff uses colour and has a fine palette that makes the music all the more attractive especially in the final Allegro.’
      • ‘He's also broadened his musical palette to include horns and passages of distorted guitar.’
      • ‘His musical palette constantly overflows with colour, never garish yet sometimes opulent and sometimes sombre.’
      • ‘The multicolored palette of a full symphony orchestra has been the perfect instrument to give voice to musical evocations of this Mediterranean land.’
      • ‘Aficianados of Spanish music also enjoy some of the orchestral music, but this often turns out to be reworkings, within a larger palette, of piano music.’
      • ‘She manages beautifully subtle shifts in tempo without crossing over into the soupy, and she applies a large palette of tonal color tastefully.’
      • ‘The mono soundtrack likewise shows its age, with a thin, tinny aural palette and a woefully underequalized dialogue track.’
      • ‘This recently coined term describes bands that despite obvious rock influences produce music displaying a wider palette of musical styles.’
    3. 1.3(in computer graphics) the range of colours or shapes available to the user.
      • ‘The graphical interface is very flexible, featuring multiple windows, tear-off tool palettes, and virtually unlimited Undo and Redo functions.’
      • ‘For example, using tool palettes, users can apply the Door tool to openings, windows and door and window assemblies, converting those objects to door objects.’
      • ‘This program allows the developer to create user interfaces quickly from a palette of standard objects.’
      • ‘As I mentioned before, most of the useful tools are available as tabbed palettes, and this includes several image transformation tools.’
      • ‘These include such topics as histogram information, suggested palettes for low-color displays, fractal-image support and pixel calibration.’
      • ‘I found it easy to mistake the frames palette for the layers palette when creating an animation.’
      • ‘A component is brought into a container, or user interface area, from a component palette.’
      • ‘In the expert palette toolbar everything can be customised.’
      • ‘Click on the ‘Magic Wand’ tool and highlight the ‘shape copy’ layer in the layer palette.’
      • ‘The reason for this is that Mac computers and PC's both use completely different color palettes.’
      • ‘If the artist can't figure out how SVGA palettes work, it's the programmer who writes a color-reducing and palette-matching utility.’
      • ‘See how web colour palettes change with colourblindness using Cal's Color Vision.’
      • ‘If you choose to use colors on your web pages from the web smart or unsafe color palettes, always view your pages on different browsers.’
      • ‘So, here's a neat widget to work out safe web colour palettes.’
      • ‘Tool palettes provide centralized access to commonly used design tools.’
      • ‘As a CAD manager, have you ever wanted to turn off the ability of your team to customize toolbars and palettes?’
      • ‘It's a challenge to capture many features in just a screenshot or two, but you can see some of the widget palettes, properties, notebooks and method editors.’
      • ‘The Transitions and Effects palettes list all the available effects on one side and then offer a selection of pre-defined possibilities on the other.’
      • ‘The 2004 update uses the tool palettes menu interface system introduced with Architectural Desktop.’
      • ‘The first lesson details the basics, such as the minimum requirements, and customising the work area, palettes and user interface.’


Late 18th century: from French, diminutive of pale shovel, from Latin pala spade.