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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.
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 pigments
  • Other pigments can make the water look red or brown.
  • Various pigments, inks and paper treatments will respond differently to some wavelengths of light.
  • He produced these paintings by growing microbes with different natural pigments in the places where he wanted different colors.
  • The pigments that give the fine-grained rocks their hues come largely from the iron and manganese compounds they contain.
  • Apparently, fungi are creative when it comes to pigments, too.
  • Leaves get their brilliant colors from pigments made up of various size, color-creating molecules.
  • But it's not pigments that create those eye-catching shades.
  • Cones in each half of the retina are adapted to produce different light-filtering pigments.
  • One can, for example, make a blue dye out of blueberry extract or synthetic pigments.
  • The technique uses a postage stamp-size piece of paper dotted with colored pigments.
British Dictionary definitions for pigments


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 pigments



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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pigments 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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pigments 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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