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"brownish-purple," 1787, from French puce "flea-color; flea," from Latin pucilem (nominative pulex) "flea," from PIE *plou- "flea" (cf. Sanskrit plusih, Greek psylla, Old Church Slavonic blucha, Lithuanian blusa, Armenian lu "flea"). That it could be generally recognized as a color seems a testimony to our ancestors' intimacy with vermin.