from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A strong to vivid red.
  • noun A crimson pigment derived from cochineal.
  • adjective Strong to vivid red.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The pure coloring matter or principle of cochineal, to which the formula C17H18O10 has been assigned. It forms a purple mass soluble in water.
  • noun That one of two or more lakes of different strengths prepared from the same coloring matter which contains the greatest proportion of coloring matter to the base, which is generally alumina.
  • noun Specifically A pigment made from cochineal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A rich red or crimson color with a shade of purple.
  • noun A beautiful pigment, or a lake, of this color, prepared from cochineal, and used in miniature painting.
  • noun (Chem.) The essential coloring principle of cochineal, extracted as a purple-red amorphous mass. It is a glucoside and possesses acid properties; -- hence called also carminic acid.
  • noun (Chem.) a coloring matter obtained from carmine as a purple-red substance, and probably allied to the phthaleïns.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A purplish-red pigment, made from dye obtained from the cochineal beetle; carminic acid or any of its derivatives
  • noun A purplish-red colour, resembling that pigment.
  • adjective of the purplish red colour shade carmine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a variable color averaging a vivid red
  • adjective of a color at the end of the color spectrum (next to orange); resembling the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies
  • verb color carmine


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French carmin, from Medieval Latin carminium, probably blend of Arabic qirmiz, kermes; see kermes, and Latin minium, cinnabar; see minium.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French carmin, from irregular Medieval Latin carminium, itself from Arabic قرمز (qirmiz, "crimson, kermes") (from Sanskrit krimiga "insect-produced", from कृमि (kṛ́mi, "worm, insect")), plus or with influence from Latin minium.



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  • "Is this car mine?" asked Tom colourfully.

    December 21, 2007

  • Sometimes hidden on the ingredients list as colouring 120 or E120.

    January 5, 2011

  • "The red color in many foods comes from crushed insects. If you see carmine or cochineal extract in an ingredients list, the product contains a little powdered bug. Aside from being an allergen for a small number of people, it's considered safe." -Daniel Tapper, author of "Food Unwrapped: Lifting the Lid on How Our Food is Really Produced".

    August 11, 2015

  • Hungry for insects? Carmine git it!

    August 11, 2015

  • Hey that makes two lousy puns on the same word. Bad bilby!

    August 11, 2015

  • Where in the World is Carmine Sandiego?

    August 11, 2015

  • Usage/historical note can be found in comment on carminic acid. Also a note on Carmen is fairly interesting.

    Other than that, Carmine was my great-grandfather's name... and I'm just now realizing, that's the line of the tree that had redheads in it. Hm.

    October 5, 2017