from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having color: colored tissue paper.
  • adj. Often Offensive Of or belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
  • adj. Often Offensive Black or African-American.
  • adj. Often Offensive Of mixed racial descent.
  • adj. South African Of or belonging to a population grouping made up of persons of mixed racial descent or of certain other nonwhite descent, especially as distinguished during apartheid from Blacks, Asians, or whites.
  • adj. Distorted or biased, as by irrelevant or incorrect information.
  • n. Offensive A person belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
  • n. Offensive A Black person; an African American.
  • n. Offensive A person of mixed racial descent.
  • n. South African A person belonging to the Coloured population grouping, especially during apartheid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a particular color or kind of color.
  • adj. Having prominent colors; colorful.
  • adj. Influenced pervasively but subtly.
  • adj. Of skin color other than the white, particularly black.
  • adj. Of neither black nor white skin color.
  • n. A colored person.
  • n. A colored article of clothing.
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of color.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having color; tinged; dyed; painted; stained.
  • adj. Specious; plausible; adorned so as to appear well.
  • adj. Of some other color than black or white.
  • adj. Of some other color than white; having a skin color darker than that of caucasian people; mostly applied to negroes or persons having negro blood. Opposite of white and caucasian.
  • adj. Of some other color than green.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having a color; dyed; tinged; painted or stained.
  • Having a distinguishing hue.
  • In botany, of any hue but green: as, a colored leaf.
  • Having a dark or black color of the skin; black or mulatto; specifically, in the United States, belonging wholly or partly to the African race; having or partaking of the color of the negro. In census-tables, etc., the term is often used to include Indians, Chinese, etc.
  • Hence— Of or pertaining to the negroes, or to persons partly of negro origin: as, the colored vote.
  • Having a specious appearance; deceptive: as, a colored statement.—Colored glass. See glass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having color or a certain color; sometimes used in combination
  • adj. having skin rich in melanin pigments
  • n. a United States term for Blacks that is now considered offensive
  • adj. (used of color) artificially produced; not natural
  • adj. favoring one person or side over another


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • 'colored' has, in my eyes, always been one of those words that ran away from its origins as an insult and assumed compelling descriptive power. I find the phrase 'advancement of colored people' sophisticated and quite moving.

    May 7, 2009

  • It's always seemed weird to me that it is part of the group NAACP. Rappers calling each other the n-word is one thing, but that and the United Negro College Fund seem very different.

    May 2, 2009

  • as an insult, it has an inherent kick in the ass for the hurlers thereof.

    May 1, 2009