Definition of indigo in English:


Syllabification: in·di·go
Pronunciation: /ˈindəˌɡō

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.
2The 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 color between blue and violet in the spectrum.
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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