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What is greyish purple called?

What is greyish purple called?

Greyish purple is a color that combines the cool tones of gray with the warmth of purple. It sits between gray and purple on the color wheel, making it a perfect bridge between the two. Greyish purple goes by many different names depending on the specific shade, but some common terms used to describe it include lilac, lavender, thistle, wisteria, and plum.

Defining Greyish Purple

So what exactly constitutes a greyish purple shade? Greyish purples are created when a considerable amount of gray is added to purple. This tones down the vibrancy of the purple, making it more muted and subdued. The result is a soft, elegant color that manages to be warm yet cool at the same time.

On the color wheel, greyish purples fall between the primary colors of blue and red, closer to blue and purple than to red. They are low saturation colors, meaning they are less intense versions of the pure purple or violet.

Different Shades of Greyish Purple

There are many different shades that can be described as greyish purple. Here are some of the most common:


Lilac is a pale violet shade with a very delicate, soft appearance. It is one of the lightest greyish purples. The name comes from the light purple color of lilac blossoms.


Lavender is often used interchangeably with lilac, but it is actually a little darker and brighter. It is a pale purple with a slightly grayish tint. The name lavender also comes from the color of the flowers of the lavender plant.


Wisteria is a medium greyish purple, between lavender and lilac. It is named after the cascading purple flowers of the wisteria vine. This shade has a very romantic, feminine feel to it.


Thistle is a pale, cool-toned purple with strong blue undertones. It is lighter than lavender but more subdued than lilac. The name comes from the purple flowering thistle plant.


Orchid is a light purple-pink that can also appear greyish. It is the exact color of certain orchid blooms. It has sophisticated, feminine connotations.


Plum is a rich, deep purple-grey tone inspired by the skin of ripe plums. It is darker and more intense than other lilac shades. Plum purple has an elegant, refined look.


Mauve is between grey and purple, closer to purple. It has a very retro, nostalgic feel. Mauve came into fashion in the Victorian era.


Heliotrope is a greyish purple tinged with pink or raspberry hues. It is named after the heliotrope flower. This is a bold, striking take on greyish purple.

Use of Greyish Purple

So why would someone choose a greyish purple shade over a pure vivid purple? Greyish purples have an inherently soft, soothing effect. They are mellow and refined, vintage and romantic. Greyish purples like lilac and lavender evoke springtime blooms and femininity. These muted purples can act as neutral backdrops in place of white or beige. Yet unlike a neutral grey, they maintain a sense of personality and vibrancy.

Here are some of the most popular uses for greyish shades of purple:

Interior Design

In interior spaces, greyish purples create serene, relaxing ambiances. Pale lilac can brighten up a room with its uplifting vibe. Mauve and wisteria purple add vintage character to a room. Darker plums make elegant accent walls or furnishings. Overall, greyish purples bring soothing energy to living spaces.


In fashion, greyish purples convey elegance and romance. Soft lilacs and lavenders suit vintage inspired styles. Darker plums and mauves feel aristocratic and refined. Greyish purple is a staple in feminine dress and a go-to color for bridesmaid dresses. It flatters a wide range of skin tones.


For cosmetics, greyish purples complement many makeup looks. Lavender eyeshadow is a popular choice, creating a soft smoky eye. Greyish purple lipsticks flatter both warm and cool complexions. Nail polish shades like lilac, thistle and orchid are endless trendsetters, suited to any season.


In nature, greyish purple describes the delicate blooms of many flowers. Lavender, lilac, thistle and wisteria are all flowering plants known for their pale purple hues. Orchids, violets and hydrangea also produce greyish purple petals. These provide beautiful inspiration for color names.


Certain foods also showcase shades of greyish purple. Plums are a prime example, along with prunes, figs, eggplants, purple potatoes, grapes and dark berries. These foods are antioxidant rich and visually striking. Greyish purple drinks are also popular, including lavender lattes, hibiscus tea and blackberry cocktails.

Psychology of Greyish Purple

Color psychology suggests greyish shades of purple evoke the following qualities:


Soft lilacs and lavenders convey romanticism. Greyish purples are considered less intense than true purple, making them ideal for creating a dreamy, poetic mood.


Light and muted greyish purples express traditionally feminine qualities like tenderness, nurturing and grace. They are staple colors for bridalwear.


With their cool, muted tones, greyish purples promote inner peace and relaxation. They are healing colors often used in spaces like spas.


Some shades like lavender have spiritual symbolism tied to divination and meditation. These colors create an introspective mood.


Darker greyish purples like plum evoke luxury and refinement. They feel rich and sophisticated.


Greyish purples inspire the imagination. They are playful colors that encourage creative expression.


Because they blend cool and warm tones, greyish purples represent ambiguity. They are colors of mystery and androgyny.

Cultural Associations

Here are some of the key cultural associations with greyish purple shades:


In many ancient cultures, purple dyes were extremely rare and expensive, so only royalty could afford rich purple clothing and decor. Paler lilacs and lavenders also came to symbolize luxury.

Victorian era

During the Victorian period, greyish purples like mauve became trendy colors for women’s fashions. Mauve dresses and accessories defined the iconic romantic style.

New age movement

With the rise of new age spirituality, lavender became tied to qualities like mysticism, meditation and psychic abilities.


Lavender is considered a color representing androgyny and bisexuality in LGBTQ culture. It is popular in Pride flags and events.

Feng shui

In feng shui and other spiritual practices, lilac brings positive chi energy to a room. It represents wisdom and imagination.


While greyish purple covers a wide range of hues, even more variations can be created by modulating the shade:


Tinting greyish purple with white makes pastel, ethereal shades like lilac and lavender. Toning it down with grey or black produces plums and mauves.


Introducing contrasting undertones transforms the shade, from raspberry-purple heliotrope to blue-purple thistle.


Layering greyish purple with other colors in patterns like stripes, florals and tie-dye generates vibrant, eclectic palettes.


Metallic, iridescent or matte textures provide new dimensions to greyish purple. Sheer, sparkling and muted finishes each create distinct moods.


Greyish purples behave differently in paint, fabric, cosmetics, food and digital formats. The texture impacts the final appearance.


Greyish purple encompasses an extensive range of shades between purple and gray. It includes colors like lilac, lavender, wisteria, orchid, plum, mauve and heliotrope. Muted and soft, these colors convey romance, spirituality, elegance and tranquility. They have regal associations with royalty and luxury. Greyish purples also evoke spring blooms, creativity and imagination. With so many variations, there is a unique greyish purple shade to suit any project or aesthetic vision. Understanding the nuances between these complex hues helps unlock their full potential.