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dye

dye, any substance, natural or synthetic, used to color various materials, especially textiles, leather, and food. Natural dyes are so called because they are obtained from plants (e.g., alizarin, catechu, indigo, and logwood), from animals (e.g., cochineal, kermes, and Tyrian purple), and from certain naturally occurring minerals (e.g., ocher and Prussian blue). They have been almost entirely replaced in modern dyeing by synthetic dyes. Most of these have been prepared from coal tar or petroleum, being formed from an aromatic hydrocarbon such as benzene, from which indigo is derived (see also aniline), or anthracene, which yields alizarin.

Although some materials, e.g., silk and wool, can be colored simply by being dipped in the dye (the dyes so used are consequently called direct dyes), others, including cotton, commonly require the use of a mordant (see also lake). Alizarin is a mordant dye and the color it gives depends upon the mordant used. Dyes are classified also as acidic or basic according to the medium required in the dyeing process. A vat dye, e.g., indigo, is so called from the method of its application; it is first treated chemically so that it becomes soluble and is then used for coloring materials bathed in a vat.

When the materials become impregnated with the dye, they are removed and dried in air, the indigo reverting to its original, insoluble form. The process by which a dye becomes "attached" to the material it colors is not definitely known. One theory holds that a chemical reaction takes place between the dye and the treated fiber; another proposes that the dye is absorbed by the fiber.

Dyeing is an ancient industry. The Chinese, Persians, and Indians used natural dyes many centuries ago, including indigo, probably the oldest dye in use, and Tyrian purple, derived from a species of snail. The Egyptians prepared some brilliant colors. In the 13th and 14th cent. dyeing assumed importance in Italy; the methods employed were carried to other parts of Europe and, as new dyes became known, the dyeing industry flourished and grew. Cochineal was introduced from Mexico. Finally, in the 19th cent. the work of W. H. Perkin and Adolf von Baeyer produced the first synthetic dyes.

See S. Robinson, The History of Dyed Textiles (1970); H. Zollinger, Color Chemistry: Syntheses, Properties, and Applications of Organic Dyes and Pigments (1987); D. R. Waring and G. Hallas, ed., The Chemistry and Application of Dyes (1989).

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dye

dye / / • n. a natural or synthetic substance used to add a color to or change the color of something. • v. (dyed, dye·ing ) [tr.] add a color to or change the color of (something) by soaking it in a solution impregnated with a dye: I dyed my hair red ∎  [intr.] take color well or badly during such a process: it's good material—it should dye well. PHRASES: dyed in the wool unchanging in a particular belief or opinion; inveterate: she's a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. DERIVATIVES: dye·a·ble adj.dy·er n.

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dye

dye Substance, natural or synthetic, used to impart colour to various substances. Natural dyes have mostly been replaced by synthetic dyes, many derived from coal tar. Dyes are classified according to their application: direct dyes, such as sulphur and vat dyes, can be applied directly to fabric because they bind to the fibres. Indirect dyes, such as ingrain and mordant dyes, require a secondary process to fix the dye.

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dye

dye vb. OE. dēagian, of unkn. orig. Not recorded again till XIV, though the agent-nouns dyer, dyester are recorded from XIII.
So dye sb. OE. dēag, dēah, rare ME. dēag; the present word is a new formation on the vb. (XVI). The words are peculiarly Eng.

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dye

dyeally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

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