Purple Facts

A few purple facts you should know:

Here are some purple facts and fun bits of purple history (you, of course, might add to your own chapter of purple history!):

    • porphyrous adj. Of or pertaining to the color purple.David V. of Purple Note Records contacted Merriam-Webster about why this word does not appear in their online collegiate dictionary. Here was their response:“Porphyrous” is not entered in the abridged Collegiate dictionary (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition), which is used on our Web site. It is, however, entered in our unabridged dictionary (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged) and defined simply with a cross-reference to “purple.” The space limitations of the abridged format, combined with the continued growth of the lexicon, force the editorial staff to exclude words that are rarely used. Our editors extensively research a wide variety of published literature looking for examples of new words or new senses for existing words. These usage citations become the basis for dictionary entry. More about this process is described on our Web site at http://www.m-w.com/about/wordin.htm. “Porphyrous” has very few recent citations in our database, which is the reason for its exclusion from the Collegiate. I did a search of the Nexis database, an enormous collection of recent newspaper and journal articles, and could not find a single example for the usage of this word (indicating that it is almost never used).Well, then! Let’s get PORPHYROUS back into the vernacular!
    • Because purple dye was so difficult to obtain and expensive to produce, purple became the royal color in many parts of the world and is traditionally associated with royalty, power, and wealth.
    • The name of the ancient city Phoenicia, or Canaan, means “Land of the Purple” and was the hub of the ancient purple dye industry.  The Minoans, a recently-discovered ancient civilization on the now Greek island of Crete, are believed to be the first to produce purple dye.
    • If you’re born “in the purple” you are born of high or noble birth.
    • Samuel “Sammie Purple” Cohen formed Detroit’s “Purple Gang,” a local gang of Jewish thugs and bootleggers in the 20’s and 30’s.  This may be the only time we ever write the phrase “Jewish thugs” and mean it.
    • Hastings Elementary School in Westborough, MA has an annual “Purple Day.” The children ask everyone to wear purple to show that individuals can change behavior as a model for how to make environmental, earth-protecting changes.
    • An annual Purple Day is held to raise awareness and educate people about the real facts epilepsy.  Everyone is asked to wear purple on that day.  When you’re done shopping for purple, you might like to visit their Purple Day site
    • China’s famous “Forbidden City” in modern Beijing is technically called “The Purple Forbidden City,” a reference to a secret purple area in heaven thought to be centered near the north star.
    • A purple pedestrian bridge joining Ohio and Kentucky can be rented out for weddings, parties, and more.  Called the “Purple People Bridge,” the former railroad bridge spans 2,670 feet across the Ohio River near Cincinnati.

Any purple facts or other purple history we’re missing?  Please let us know!