American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A red dye made of the dried and pulverized bodies of female cochineal insects. It is used as a biological stain and as an indicator in acid-base titrations.
- n. A vivid red.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of a species of insects, the Coccus cacti, found upon several species of Opuntia and other Cactaceæ, especially O. Tuna, O. Ficus-Indica, and Nopalea cochinillifera. It colors a brilliant crimson, which is changed by acids to an orange-red and by alkalis to violet; a brilliant scarlet dye is prepared from it. The cacti upon which the insect lives, bearing the general name of nopal, are extensively cultivated as food for them in the tropical countries of America, and in Java, Algeria, etc. The females only are valuable for their color, and are collected twice a year, after they have been fecundated and have laid eggs sufficient for a new brood. They are killed by spreading them upon heated plates, by putting them in ovens, or by immersing them in boiling water or exposing them to its vapor. Those killed by heated plates are of a blackish color, and are considered to be the finest; they are called
zacatilla. Those from ovens are next in value; they are of an ash-gray (blanco or silver-white) color, and are called silver cochineal, or jaspeada. Those killed by water or vapor are of a reddish-brown color, and are the least valuable. The fragments, dust, and impurities from cochineal are collected and used as an adulterant, under the name of granilla. The finest grade often goes by the name of mestica or mesteque, and is exported in large quantities from Honduras. Besides the finer grades, which are cultivated insects, a considerable trade is carried on in inferior or wild insects; they are scarcely more than half the size of the cultivated species, and are covered with a cottony down which adds a useless bulk. Good cochineal has the appearance of small, deep brown-red, somewhat purplish grains, wrinkled across the back with parallel furrows, intersected in the middle by a longitudinal one. The coloring principle obtained from cochineal is carminic acid. (See carmine, 3.) East Indian cochineals, so called, are smooth glistening black grains, of no value; they are used to adulterate the genuine, which are easily distinguishable from them.
- n. The insect which produces the dyestuff known by the same name. See def. 1.
- n. A species of insect (Dactylopius coccus).
- n. A vivid red dye made from the bodies of cochineal insects.
GNU Webster's 1913
- A dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of females of the Coccus cacti, an insect native in Mexico, Central America, etc., and found on several species of cactus, esp. Opuntia cochinellifera.
- n. a red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female cochineal insects
- n. Mexican red scale insect that feeds on cacti; the source of a red dye
- French cochenille, from Spanish cochinilla, cochineal insect, probably from Vulgar Latin *coccinella, from feminine diminutive of Latin coccinus, scarlet, from Greek kokkinos, from kokkos, kermes berry (from its use in making scarlet dye). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“They'd been growing something called cochineal, which is a-- it was a kind of a-- a bug that grows on”
“Or, more properly, the stuff we call cochineal is a chemical extract of carminic acid from the bodies of squished female scale insects.”
“Red beverages -- including Campari and Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice -- are often colored with cochineal, aka carmine, a dye derived from insects.”
“On the other hand, her version of the pigment known as cochineal red, a concoction made from the carapaces of a certain kind of beetle, eventually achieved an electric intensity that has almost no equal; only the Italian architect Felice della Greca, who worked in Rome in the 1650s, ever mixed cochineal red with oranges and purples in such boldly fluorescent combinations, and he drew buildings and cityscapes rather than insects, birds, and flowers.”
“The original goal of Pont's effort to improve a portion of the dye industry was to find an inexpensive solution that would dissolve a greater percentage of the coloring agent in cochineal.”
“To accomplish this, the first thing was to obtain a good red ink from the cochineal, which is crimson.”
“As the red paint is prepared from cochineal, which is an animal body, less if any injury arises from its use, as it only lies on the skin like other filth.”
“The cochineal is a parasite of cacti of the genus opuntia, from which it has been harvested in South America since pre-Columbian times.”
“The rich red dye is made from an insect called a cochineal which lives on cactus.”
“The belt is, to expofe them to the fun for feveral days, by which means they ac - quire a red brown colour, which has induced the Spaniards to call the cochineal fo dried renegrida.”
Internet Archive: The history of America, : from its discovery by Columbus to the conclusion of the late war. : With an appendix, containing an account of the rise and progress of the present unhappy contest between Great Britain and her colonies.
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