Definition of dye in US English:


nounPlural dyes

  • A natural or synthetic substance used to add a color to or change the color of something.

    • ‘After the yarn had been spun it would be dyed using natural dyes.’
    • ‘Gia bleached her hair blond and Josh liked playing with hair dye.’
    • ‘I quickly made way to the hair dye and looked at the many colors.’
    • ‘Ammonia in hair dye softens the hair shaft to allow the colourant to penetrate and adhere to it.’
    • ‘Tattoo dyes, particularly red dye, can cause allergic skin reactions, resulting in an itchy rash at the tattoo site.’
    • ‘Urzela, a natural substance used in dyes, was another imported crop.’
    • ‘The woman couldn't help but feel a little envious, seeing how natural her hair looked without any dye in it at all.’
    • ‘I had bought a box of black hair dye earlier with the intention of using it, but had lost my nerve when I got home with it.’
    • ‘I washed the black dye out of my hair and bleached it a bright white-blonde.’
    • ‘Biologists have long used fluorescent dyes that selectively attach to particular molecules, allowing them to detect certain cells or proteins in a sample.’
    • ‘To pick out fingerprints, for example, they often dust with fluorescent dye under a black light.’
    • ‘One of the major practical applications of chromophore chemistry is in the manufacture of synthetic dyes, or dyestuffs, for textiles.’
    • ‘It was made with natural and synthetic dyes on wool.’
    • ‘His black hair dye, piercings, and all of the other punk-related objects were gone.’
    • ‘We've used some vegetable dyes with varying success.’
    • ‘In 1856 a colour was discovered, mauve, our first synthetic dye.’
    • ‘Shelves lined the walls containing hair dye, gel, conditioner and a wide variety of shampoos and shaving lotions.’
    • ‘For the most part, though, manufacturers adopted recipes using synthetic dyes, or mixtures of synthetic and natural dyes, to provide whatever colors were in demand.’
    • ‘This article deals with the printmaking process, the color dyes and the papers used.’
    • ‘Natural dye from the juice of pokeberries splashed a rosy glow on the cheeks.’
    colourant, colouring agent, colouring, colour, dyestuff, pigment, tint, stain, wash
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verbdyeing, dyed, dyes

[with object]
  • 1Add a color to or change the color of (something) by soaking it in a solution impregnated with a dye.

    with complement ‘I dyed my hair blond’
    • ‘On the advice of her lawyers, she dyed her hair platinum blonde and wore a two-piece black suit.’
    • ‘‘When your mom takes you to the store to buy your hair dye and then dyes it for you, you're not getting the true meaning of punk,’ he states.’
    • ‘Today, the indigo used to dye the heavy cotton fibers to make denim is produced synthetically.’
    • ‘Paper pulp is dyed with textile dyes and cut images are pressed into the paper when wet.’
    • ‘She will probably recommend that you dye the pants black or a very dark color.’
    • ‘Taking a spare molex extension cable, I vinyl dyed it black and put a cable tie around it to keep the wires from tangling.’
    • ‘In acid dyes, which are good for dyeing wool, silk, and acrylics, the chromophores are part of a negative ion.’
    • ‘Since they leave an indelible black stain on everything they touch, they are perhaps best reserved for dyeing sheepskins black, as in the Rio Grande Valley.’
    • ‘She left Lancashire in the mid-1980s to farm on Islay, hand shearing her own rare breed sheep, spinning their wool into yarn, dyeing it with natural dyes and knitting it.’
    • ‘I can dye your hair blonde and put on some make up.’
    • ‘She wore yellow contact lenses, her hair was dyed black with red streaks, and she had numerous piercings.’
    • ‘Wang Lung dyes eggs in red dye to distribute to other villagers in honor of the birth of his first male child.’
    • ‘His brown hair was dyed blonde, but just a little so it just looked highlighted.’
    • ‘Max and Matthew are twins and they look completely similar except that Max dyed his blond hair black.’
    • ‘She wore black and she had dyed her hair black, but the blonde roots were beginning to grow out.’
    • ‘Leather can be dyed with a sort of liquid stain - think about dyeing a pair of shoes or a handbag.’
    • ‘She had used the black hair dye to dye the bottom five inches of her flaming red hair black.’
    • ‘I must admit that I do find it hilarious that she's cut her hair short and dyed it blonde for the role.’
    • ‘As soon as she was well enough to walk, she dyed her clothes black and staggered out onto the street.’
    • ‘Her long, black hair was dyed fuchsia at the tips and was streaked with blond.’
    colour, tint, pigment, stain, wash, colour-wash, tinge, shade
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    1. 1.1no object Take color well or badly during the dyeing process.
      ‘it's good material—it should dye well’


  • dyed in the wool

    • Unchanging in a particular belief or opinion; inveterate.

      ‘she's a dyed-in-the-wool conservative’
      • ‘Now I am a dyed in the wool Alabama fan, but I must admit I had a great time at the game.’
      • ‘Well, I suppose if you were a Dodger fan you might have a different view of things, but, as I am a dyed in the wool Angel fan, I was ecstatic with our 9-shelling of the Dodger bullpen.’
      • ‘Being a dyed in the wool researcher, he uncovers many facts not generally known, in his quest for the real origins of present day English.’
      • ‘Being a dyed in the wool racer, I admit I will watch anything going round and round, even if it has a lawn mower engine.’
      • ‘She was a dyed in the wool Londoner and his family didn't really approve.’
      • ‘A haunter of bookshops since his childhood, spent north and west of Kensington Gardens, he was a dyed in the wool bookman, and was perhaps the last Man of Letters to have read ‘everything’.’
      • ‘My grandfather, who is a dear man, but a dyed in the wool Socialist, told me that the general was a traitor to his race for taking a job with third administration.’
      • ‘There is nothing for you here - I'm a dyed in the wool centre lefter.’
      • ‘Telling this sort of thing to dyed in the wool liberals is guaranteed to wind them up and inevitably turns the whole thing into a slanging match.’
      • ‘This guy used to be a dyed in the wool reactionary but I've noticed that lately he's been well… pretty sensible and rational.’
      inveterate, confirmed, entrenched, established, long-established, long-standing, deep-rooted, diehard, complete, absolute, utter, thorough, thoroughgoing, out-and-out, true blue, through and through
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Old English dēag (noun), dēagian (verb). The noun is not recorded from Old English to the late 16th century, when it was re-formed from the verb.