Definition of indigo in US English:



  • 1A tropical plant of the pea family, which was formerly widely cultivated as a source of dark blue dye.

    Genus Indigofera, family Leguminosae: several species, in particular I. tinctoria

    • ‘In the sixteenth century El Salvador produced cacao, from which chocolate is made; in the eighteenth century it grew indigo, which yields a blue dye used in clothing.’
    • ‘The planting of indigoes was only by a handful of Hakka farmers in mountain towns, because poor transportation prevented them from acquiring imported dyes.’
    • ‘From it radiated directly the indigo and rice plantations.’
    • ‘I reached for my coat, a deep blue dyed with a plant called indigo, and, after a second's hesitation, also took a pair of wool-lined gloves.’
    • ‘Originally, natural dyes from amla, henna, pomegranate, indigo and turmeric were used to dye the silk.’
    • ‘Others planted truck gardens and sold corn, cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes, tobacco, indigo, watermelons, and gourds at the market for profit.’
  • 2The dark blue dye obtained from the indigo plant.

    • ‘Blue colour was derived from indigo while black was obtained from iron oxide.’
    • ‘The Tuareg are best known for the men's practice of veiling their faces with a blue cloth dyed with indigo.’
    • ‘So there is the possibility to see whether they could produce by a chemical process to dye with indigo rather than a chemical process as at present.’
    • ‘Natural indigo is obtained from the plant indigofera.’
    • ‘It was usually dyed with indigo, a dye taken from plants in the Americas and India, which made jean cloth a dark blue colour.’
    • ‘The blue is organic dye - real indigo - the same color used in blue jeans, which looks so beautiful next to the skin of your hand.’
    • ‘Vegetable dyes have always been cheaper, the most common in William Perkin's day were madder and indigo, the ancient red and blue dyes.’
    • ‘Tuareg and Fulani women wear dark clothes dyed with indigo.’
    • ‘Coffee, sugar, cotton, and indigo (a blue dye) from Haiti accounted for nearly one-half of France's foreign trade.’
    • ‘Indigo was also a significant earner of Chinese silver, but its replacement by synthetic Prussian blue brought the indigo business to a disastrous end.’
    • ‘Even rarer were certain organic dyes, such as indigo or purple, which had to be impregnated in chalk or the like to make them fast.’
    • ‘So really, I used an analogous process for the fermentation, which in the case of the indigo was done with a plant material.’
    • ‘The same options were available for dyeing the wool or cotton, which could be achieved using dyes such as madder, cochineal, and indigo.’
    • ‘Because the blue used was generally indigo, two separate dyebaths were required or, less satisfactorily, green pigments were used.’
    • ‘In the Colonial Era, chemical manufacturing was confined to such rudimentary products as indigo dyes, naval stores, leather, glass, soap, and candles.’
    • ‘The aerial part of the plant was used locally for indigo dyeing in ancient time.’
    • ‘Something I left out of the above post, that you might also find amusing is that there was a guy who's job in the factory was to make sure that the indigo did not over ferment.’
    • ‘A proposal from 1822 that calls for the use of paper dyed with blue indigo might be of help.’
    • ‘Its blue colorant is chemically identical to indigo made from plants of the genus Indigofera, cultivated in Asia.’
    • ‘Portuguese and Genoan sailors used this durable, blue, broad cloth, dyed with indigo, for their bellbottom sailing pants, and it soon became popular with farmers and others.’
    1. 2.1 A color between blue and violet in the spectrum.
      ‘the deepest indigo of the horizon’
      • ‘I could even make out the different indigo and violet stripes, which is rare.’
      • ‘But as I slowly looked over to the east, the sky turned from deep black to indigo to azure to ever lighter shades of blue.’
      • ‘The sheets are a dark indigo blue, easily mistaken for black if there's nothing blue around to enhance the presence of that color.’
      • ‘The rest were different shades of blue, from sky blue to indigo.’
      • ‘A more accurate map shows a wash of differing hues of indigo and violet, with some smatterings of infrared and ultraviolet at the extremes.’
      • ‘There are roses, leopards and paisleys, reds, golds and indigos, fine weaves and coarse weaves.’
      • ‘Lighter weight cotton indigos also are important, she said.’
      • ‘He sighed and looked more closely at the auburn hair and then looked into those dark thoughtful eyes, the strangest colour he had ever seen, a deep indigo violet.’
      • ‘Instead of the warm reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and indigos, it was replaced with the cool colors of daybreak: pale blues, gold, lavender, and pale yellows.’
      • ‘It also has some of the best beaches in Greece, with indigo depths and aquamarine shallows.’
      • ‘It includes the full spectrum of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.’
      • ‘Rich shades of violet and indigo melted into the vast blackness of the sky.’
      • ‘She was wearing a sari, the whole outfit patterned with stylized blossoms that were yellow, while the backround was a rich indigo.’
      • ‘Later color theorists generally replaced indigo and violet with just a single hue: purple or violet.’
      • ‘It was decorated in varying shades of blue with small hints of deep grays, indigos, and blacks.’
      • ‘The sky had vanished, the entire world was painted a dark indigo.’
      • ‘One corner of the obsidian has been cut and polished, and when held in the light it shimmers from indigo to violet.’
      • ‘I thought indigo might be popular because it's a colour people associate with rainbows and not much else.’
      • ‘It has the familiar, but always appealing, indigo and saffron colour scheme and wooden floor of many modern restaurants.’
      • ‘They were not blue, they were fiery cobalt, intense indigo, smoldering sapphire, and they could change their appearance with her every varying emotion.’
      sky-blue, azure, cobalt, cobalt blue, sapphire, cerulean, navy, navy blue, saxe, saxe blue, oxford blue, cambridge blue, ultramarine, lapis lazuli, indigo, aquamarine, turquoise, teal, teal blue, cyan, of the colour of the sky, of the colour of the sea
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Mid 16th century: from Portuguese índigo, via Latin from Greek indikon, from indikos ‘Indian (dye)’ (see Indic).