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[pig-muh nt] /ˈpɪg mənt/
a dry insoluble substance, usually pulverized, which when suspended in a liquid vehicle becomes a paint, ink, etc.
a coloring matter or substance.
Biology. any substance whose presence in the tissues or cells of animals or plants colors them.
verb (used with object)
to color; add pigment to.
verb (used without object)
to become pigmented; acquire color; develop pigmentation:
a poor quality of paper that doesn't pigment well.
Origin of pigment
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin pigmentum paint, equivalent to pig- (stem of pingere to paint) + -mentum -ment
Related forms
hyperpigmented, adjective
nonpigmented, adjective
unpigmented, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pigment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When the fine superficial membrane of the iris is torn the pigment granules fall out and the cells can now grow and multiply.

  • "I need to know something about the pigment patches," he said jerkily.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • Many animals live for generations in total darkness before losing their pigment.

    The Dawn of Reason James Weir
  • Tan also is due to pigment in the skin and is caused by light.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • Still, I think he must have had English or Irish pigment in that red hair of his.

    The Ship Dwellers Albert Bigelow Paine
  • It is a matter of regret that this pigment is not equally efficacious in oil.

    Field's Chromatography George Field
  • The particles of this pigment appear in various sizes, due, no doubt, to a massing of the particles in the precipitation process.

    Paint Technology and Tests Henry A. Gardner
  • Like the chrome molybdate it would be superfluous as a pigment.

    Field's Chromatography George Field
British Dictionary definitions for pigment


a substance occurring in plant or animal tissue and producing a characteristic colour, such as chlorophyll in green plants and haemoglobin in red blood
any substance used to impart colour
a powder that is mixed with a liquid to give a paint, ink, etc
Derived Forms
pigmentary, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin pigmentum, from pingere to paint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pigment

late 14c., from Latin pigmentum "coloring matter, pigment, paint," figuratively "prnament," from stem of pingere "to color, paint" (see paint (v.)). Variants of this word could have been known in Old English (e.g. 12c. pyhmentum). As a verb from 1900. Related: Pigmented; pigmenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pigment in Medicine

pigment pig·ment (pĭg'mənt)

  1. A substance used as coloring.

  2. Dry coloring matter, usually an insoluble powder to be mixed with water, oil, or another base to produce paint and similar products.

  3. A substance that produces a characteristic color in tissue.

  4. A medicinal preparation applied to the skin like paint.

v. pig·ment·ed, pig·ment·ing, pig·ments
To color with pigment.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pigment in Science
  1. An organic compound that gives a characteristic color to plant or animal tissues and is involved in vital processes. Chlorophyll, which gives a green color to plants, and hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color, are examples of pigments.

  2. A substance or material used as coloring.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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