Definition of ultramarine in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A brilliant deep blue pigment originally obtained from lapis lazuli, now made from powdered fired clay, sodium carbonate, sulphur, and resin.

    [as modifier] ‘ultramarine blue’
    • ‘They are small in scale and feature extensive use of gold and brilliant, rich and sparkling colors like ultramarine, Prussian blue, indigo, violet, purple, carmine and tangerine.’
    • ‘The background is a lightly mottled blue - the look you get when you apply ultramarine, a semitransparent pigment, in a reasonably straightforward fashion.’
    • ‘The brilliant pure blue of genuine ultramarine, obtained from crushed lapis lazuli, was a pigment used in Europe from the early 13th century when the method of extraction was perfected.’
    • ‘Lazur, powdered and mixed with cleared lapislazuli produces natural ultramarine.’
    1. 1.1A brilliant deep blue colour.
      ‘the colour of the water deepened to ultramarine’
      • ‘An elegant Siddha on a cave ceiling is done in sombre shades of blue, ranging from off-white to ultramarine, an unusual colour scheme.’
      • ‘‘In them, Ken has fused the rich colours of sky, sea and earth - ultramarine, cyan, terracotta - with neutrals to create works which are serene and yet striking,’ says David.’
      • ‘That color ranges from deep shades of brown, purple, ultramarine and emerald, up through hot pink, fire-engine red, fluorescent chartreuse and grating lavender.’
      • ‘After a short swim out, the water changes to a deep ultramarine.’
      • ‘Turning away from sheer, rocky walls, the deep ultramarine seems to envelop you and pin you back against the rock face.’
      • ‘Her palette grew more complex and sophisticated - replete with lavenders, juicy oranges, translucent celadons, glowing viridians, wine reds and a range of blues from deep ultramarine to pale sky.’


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin ultramarinus beyond the sea; the name of the pigment is from obsolete Italian (azzurro) oltramarino, literally (azure) from overseas.