At first I wanted to just write: "A photograph slowly losing its colors."

But I think losing isn't the right verb here. What can I use instead of losing? (I want to keep the word colors.)

  • 4
    fade; discolor – Kris Nov 28 '13 at 7:23
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    Photos 'fade'.. – WS2 Nov 28 '13 at 7:29
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    You can speak of things losing their colour, particularly when different colours fade at different rates: a colour photo might end up with faded blues but still-vibrant reds. – Andrew Leach Nov 28 '13 at 9:17
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    I'd say: "losing its color", because I think of "color" as a mass noun in this context. – Peter Shor Nov 28 '13 at 13:52

As you've said you want to keep the word "colors", I presume you want a transitive verb to fit into the sentence "A photograph slowly ing its colors". If so, I would suggest the following:

  • dissipating: a bit more forceful than losing
  • shedding: slightly more poetic
  • bleeding: more dramatic
  • leaching: a little bit scientific, and more suitable for something else doing the leaching

To be honest, I think the sentence might be better rearranged, but I'm inferring from the way you worded the question that you don't want to do that.

  • Thanks! I'll choose one of those. I'm curious, how would you rearrange that sentence? – janoChen Nov 28 '13 at 9:20
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    You can make the verb intransitive by making the colors the subject. e.g. "the photo's colors slowly faded/dissipated" – Phil M Jones Nov 28 '13 at 9:39
  • Or even more idiomatically (to me, at least): “The colours (had) slowly faded from the photo”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 28 '13 at 10:06
  • It would be beneficial to understand why my answer was downvoted. – Phil M Jones Dec 2 '13 at 11:01

Desaturate is commonly used to refer to the loss of color in photos and of color in general.

desaturation [diːˌsætʃəˈreɪʃən] n (Physics / General Physics)
Physics the addition of white light to a pure colour to produce a paler less saturated colour (TFD)

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    Though if you're talking about the effect of when a photo is old or has been in the sun too long, then you can say it has faded. – Dodgie Nov 28 '13 at 7:41
  • Why was this voted down? – Dodgie Nov 29 '13 at 20:47

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