Definition of puce in US English:



  • Of a dark red or purple-brown color.

    ‘his face was puce with rage and frustration’
    • ‘She stood impassively on the shoreline in a very unflattering puce bikini that was five sizes too small for her.’
    • ‘Mrs. Mahathy's face turned a beautiful puce color and her finger rose shakily towards the door.’
    • ‘An oversized text with a puce cover, Blast's title was emblazoned diagonally across the cover in three-inch tall, bold, black type.’
    • ‘Pour into a jug and leave to cool; do not refrigerate as the syrup might crystallise and lose its fabulous puce clarity.’
    • ‘For this occasion, she shows herself dressed in a puce silk dress with a ruffled lace edging.’


  • A dark red or purple-brown color.

    • ‘You might consider trying to duplicate your institution's colors in the flower and candles, unless they are something like pomegranate and puce.’
    • ‘Some of the parliamentarians turned puce with passion in their speeches, but they didn't seem to be hurling insults at each other or constantly trying to put each other down.’
    • ‘The events occurring when they were reduced to 13 caused Gloucester's head coach to turn a darker shade of puce.’
    • ‘Admittedly there was no hint of green, or purple, or grey, or puce, or taupe, or beige, or whatever the hell other parties there are.’
    • ‘What you take from this time as your individual gift will be different as puce and mauve.’


Late 18th century: from French, literally ‘flea(-colour)’, from Latin pulex, pulic-.