Definition of indigo in English:


Line breaks: in¦digo
Pronunciation: /ˈɪndɪgəʊ

noun (plural indigos or indigoes)

  • 1A tropical plant of the pea family, which was formerly widely cultivated as a source of dark blue dye.
    • Genus Indigofera, family Leguminosae: several species, in particular I. tinctoria
    More example sentences
    • The planting of indigoes was only by a handful of Hakka farmers in mountain towns, because poor transportation prevented them from acquiring imported dyes.
    • In the sixteenth century El Salvador produced cacao, from which chocolate is made; in the eighteenth century it grew indigo, which yields a blue dye used in clothing.
    • From it radiated directly the indigo and rice plantations.
  • 2 [mass noun] The dark blue dye obtained from the indigo plant.
    More example sentences
    • Tuareg and Fulani women wear dark clothes dyed with indigo.
    • Coffee, sugar, cotton, and indigo (a blue dye) from Haiti accounted for nearly one-half of France's foreign trade.
    • The Tuareg are best known for the men's practice of veiling their faces with a blue cloth dyed with indigo.
  • 2.1A colour between blue and violet in the spectrum: the deepest indigo of the horizon
    More example sentences
    • It includes the full spectrum of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
    • A more accurate map shows a wash of differing hues of indigo and violet, with some smatterings of infrared and ultraviolet at the extremes.
    • Later color theorists generally replaced indigo and violet with just a single hue: purple or violet.


mid 16th century: from Portuguese índigo, via Latin from Greek indikon, from indikos 'Indian (dye)' (see Indic).

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