Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Alternate uses: Purple (disambiguation)
On a chromaticity diagram, the straight line connecting the extreme spectral colors (red and violet) is known as the line of purples (or purple boundary); it represents one limit of human color perception. The color magenta used in the CMYK printing process is on the line of purples, but most people associate the term "purple" with a somewhat bluer shade.
Purple sometimes symbolizes royalty, dating back to Roman times, when clothing dyed with Tyrian purple was limited to the upper classes. The color, which was closer to crimson than our idea of purple, was the favored color of many kings and queens. Byzantine empresses gave birth in the Purple Chamber of the palace of the Byzantine Emperors. Thus being named Porphyrogenitus ("born to the purple") marked a dynastic emperor as opposed to a general who won the throne by his effort. Oddly, porpora or purpure was not one of the usual tinctures in European heraldry, being added at a late date to bring the number of tinctures plus metals to seven, so that they could be given planetary associations. the classic early example of purpure is in the coat of the Kingdom of León: : argent, a lion purpure as early as 1245.
In the United States military, purple refers to programs or assignments that are "joint", i.e. are not confined to a single service such as the Army or Navy but apply to the entire defense establishment. Assignment to one or more joint billets is required for promotion to flag rank (Rear Admiral and higher) in the U.S. Navy. Officers in joint billets are sometimes referred to as "wearing purple" (the phrase is purely metaphorical as there are no purple uniforms in the U.S. armed forces).
Purple is also a symbol of womandom, feminism, or lesbianism. In one such use, members of the Red Hat Society (women over 50) wear purple dresses with red hats.
In politics in the Netherlands, purple means a government coalition of right-liberals and socialists (symbolized by blue and red, respectively), as opposed to the more common coalitions of the Christian center-party with one of the other two. From 1994–2002 there have been two purple cabinets—see also Politics of the Netherlands and Paars (the Dutch word for "purple"). Purple is symbolic for courage.
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