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Definition and Example 

To be born into a reigning family or family of privileged class, e.g. She struck me as a very ordinary person. I had no idea she was born to the purple.


The idiom is associated with the rareness and expense of purple dye (made from a shellfish) in the ancient world. Since it was expensive and very few people could afford it, Kings chose to make ‘Tyrian purple', the colour of royalty. They passed laws that ensured that no one other member of the society could wear clothes of this colour — only rulers could wear purple.

Last modified: Friday, 16 March 2018, 7:36 PM