Color or Colour | Meaning, Spelling & Example Sentences

Color and colour are different spellings of the noun referring to the hue or shade of something and the verb referring to the act of changing the colour of something by painting, shading, or dyeing it. The verb is also used figuratively to mean ‘make something vivid or expressive’.

The spelling tends to vary depending on whether you’re using UK or US English:

  • In US English, ‘color’ (no ‘u’) is the correct spelling.
  • In UK English, ‘colour’ (with a ‘u’) is standard.
Examples: Color and colour in a sentence
Orange is Olivia’s favourite color/colour.

I think we should repaint the kitchen. Grey is such a bland color/colour.

The child tried to color/colour inside the lines of the drawing.

Anthony colored/coloured the banal story by adding fantastic details.

Note
Many words that end in ‘-our’ in UK English end in ‘-or’ in US English. Some other common examples include ‘favour/favor‘, ‘behaviour/behavior‘, ‘honour/honor‘, and ‘flavour/flavor’.

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Other forms of the word

The spelling distinction carries over to other forms of the word including ‘colored/coloured’, ‘coloring/colouring’, and ‘colorful/colourful’.

  • In US English, ‘colored’, ‘coloring’, and ‘colorful’ are correct.
  • In UK English, ‘coloured’, ‘colouring’, and ‘colourful’ are more common.
Examples: Other forms of color and colour in a sentence
Ava colored/coloured her hair blonde, but she’s worried it doesn’t suit her.

Jill bought Stefan a coloring/colouring book for his birthday.

There is a lot of colorful/colourful graffiti in my neighbourhood.

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Expressions using color/colour

‘Color/colour’ is also used in various idioms. The regional spelling also applies to these forms.

Expression Meaning
I finally see your true colors/colours. One’s real character (typically, but not always, used with a negative connotation)
Brad is looking at the world through rose-colored/coloured glasses. A naively positive perspective
Kelly passed her test with flying colors/colours. Exceptionally well or with distinction

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, common mistakes, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between color and colour?

Color and colour mean the same thing. However, the spelling varies depending on whether you’re using UK or US English:

  • In US English, ‘color’ (no ‘u’) is the correct spelling.
  • In UK English, ‘colour’ (with a ‘u’) is standard.
Is it color or colour in the USA?

In US English, ‘color‘ (no ‘u’) is the correct spelling. In UK English, ‘colour’ (with a ‘u’) is standard. This regional spelling distinction carries over to other forms of the words, including ‘coloring/colouring’ and ‘colorful/colourful’.

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Ryan, E. (2023, May 23). Color or Colour | Meaning, Spelling & Example Sentences. Scribbr. Retrieved 9 April 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/uk-vs-us/color-or-colour/

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.