AskDefine | Define achromatic

Dictionary Definition

achromatic adj
1 being of the achromatic color of maximum lightness; having little or no hue owing to reflection of almost all incident light; "as white as fresh snow"; "a bride's white dress" [syn: white] [ant: black]
2 being of the achromatic color of maximum darkness; having little or no hue owing to absorption of almost all incident light; "black leather jackets"; "as black as coal"; "rich black soil" [syn: black] [ant: white]
3 having no hue [ant: chromatic]

User Contributed Dictionary



Greek colorless; privative + color: compare French achromatique


  1. Free from color; transmitting light without color-related distortion.
  2. Containing components such as achromatic lenses and prisms, designed to prevent color-related distortion.
  3. Uncolored; not absorbing color from a fluid; -- said of tissue
  4. Having only the diatonic notes of the scale; not modified by accidentals.
  5. Being achromatic in subject: "The lecture was achromatic, the speaker used politics to suppress the weight of his/her subject."


  • Chinese: 消色差的(1,2); 非染色性的(3)
  • Italian: acromatico (all)

Extensive Definition

This article is about the color. For other uses, see Grey (disambiguation) and Gray (disambiguation).
Grey or gray (see spelling differences) describes any shade between black and white. Collectively, white, black, and the range of greys between them are known as achromatic colors or neutral colors. Greys are seen commonly in nature and fashion. Grey paints can be created by mixing complementary colors (that is colors directly opposite on the color wheel, e.g. yellow and violet). In the RGB color model used by computer displays, it is created by mixing equal amounts of red, green, and blue light. Images which consist wholly of neutral colors are called monochrome, black-and-white or greyscale.

In color theory

Most grey pigments have a cool or warm cast to them, as the human eye can detect even a minute amount of saturation. Yellow, orange and red create a "warm grey". Green, blue, or purple, create a "cool grey". When there is no cast at all, it is referred to as "neutral grey" or simply "grey". Two colors are called complementary colors if grey is produced when they are combined. Grey is its own complement. Consequently, grey remains grey when its color spectrum is inverted, and so has no opposite, or alternately is its own opposite.
Artists sometimes use the two different spellings to distinguish between strict combinations of black and white versus combinations that have elements of hue.

Web colors

There are several shades of grey available for use with HTML and CSS in word form, while there are 254 true greys available through Hex triplet. All are spelled with an a: using the e spelling can cause unexpected errors with outdated browsers (this discrepancy was inherited from the X11 color list), and to this day, Internet Explorer's Trident browser engine does not recognize "grey" and will not render it. Another anomaly is that "gray" is in fact much darker than the X11 color marked "darkgray;" this is because of a conflict with the original HTML gray and the X11's "gray," which is closer to HTML's "silver." The three "slategray" colors are not themselves on the greyscale, but are slightly saturated towards cyan (green + blue). Note that since there are an even (256, including black and white) number of unsaturated shades of grey, there are actually two grey tones straddling the midpoint in the 8-bit grayscale. The color name "gray" has been assigned the lighter of the two shades (128 also known as #808080), due to rounding up. In browsers that support it, "grey" has the same color as "gray."

Light (RYB)

red (●) + yellow (●) + blue (●) = white (●)

Pigment (GVO)

green (●) + violet (●) + orange (●) = black (●)

Color coordinates

Grey values result when r = g = b, for the color (r, g, b): Grey values are produced by c = m = y = 0, for the color (c, m, y, k). Lightness is adjusted by varying k. In theory, any mixture where c = m = y is neutral, but in practice such mixtures are often a muddy brown (see CMYK#Why black ink is used).:Greys result whenever s is 0 or undefined, as is the case when v is 0 or l is 0 or 1

In human culture

  • In a moral sense grey is either used
    • pejoratively to describe situations that have no clear moral value, or
    • positively to balance an all-black or all-white view (for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad).
  • In folklore, grey is often associated with goblin folk of several kinds. Scandinavian folklore often depicts their gnomes and nisser in grey clothing. This is partly because of their association with dusk, partly because these races, including elves (see below), often are outside moral standards (black or white).
Literature / Film / Music
  • The Grey Council consists of the nine leaders of the Minbari in the Babylon 5 universe.
  • Grey's Anatomy is a popular drama tv series. The name suggests that the show might be more factual than it is in reality.
Sociology Sound Engineering
  • Aging hair is often perceived as being grey although it is actually white, because white hairs next to other colors look comparatively darker. Hence grey is associated with the elderly, and has inspired the name of the Gray Panthers and expressions such as Grey pound.
  • Hence the inspiration for the song The Old Gray Mare, and punning reference such as the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the double-play-on-words title The Old Grey Hare.
Nazi Germany
Parapsychology Parties
  • A "grey person" is someone who goes unnoticed, a wallflower.
  • Grey is often synonymous with things that are dull and boring
  • Grey represents pessimism whereas its opposite, optimism, is represented by the color rose.
  • A concept that is in a Grey area is a concept about which one is unsure what category in which to place it.


achromatic in Aragonese: Griso
achromatic in Guarani: Hũngy
achromatic in Aymara: Uqi
achromatic in Banyumasan: Abu-Abu
achromatic in Belarusian: Шэры колер
achromatic in Catalan: Gris
achromatic in Czech: Šedá
achromatic in Danish: Grå
achromatic in Pennsylvania German: Groh
achromatic in German: Grau
achromatic in Modern Greek (1453-): Γκρι
achromatic in Spanish: Gris
achromatic in Esperanto: Griza
achromatic in Basque: Gris
achromatic in Persian: خاکستری
achromatic in French: Gris
achromatic in Korean: 회색
achromatic in Indonesian: Abu-abu
achromatic in Italian: Grigio
achromatic in Hebrew: אפור
achromatic in Haitian: Gri
achromatic in Latin: Canus
achromatic in Luxembourgish: Gro
achromatic in Lithuanian: Pilka
achromatic in Malay (macrolanguage): Kelabu
achromatic in Dutch: Grijs
achromatic in Japanese: 灰色
achromatic in Chechen: Сира
achromatic in Norwegian: Grå
achromatic in Norwegian Nynorsk: Grå
achromatic in Narom: Gris
achromatic in Polish: Szary
achromatic in Portuguese: Cinza
achromatic in Romanian: Gri
achromatic in Quechua: Uqi
achromatic in Russian: Серый цвет
achromatic in Simple English: Gray
achromatic in Slovak: Sivá
achromatic in Finnish: Harmaa
achromatic in Swedish: Grå
achromatic in Thai: สีเทา
achromatic in Vietnamese: Xám
achromatic in Turkish: Gri
achromatic in Ukrainian: Сірий колір
achromatic in Chinese: 灰色
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