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

  • n. A strong to vivid red.
  • n. A crimson pigment derived from cochineal.
  • adj. Strong to vivid red.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rich red or crimson color with a shade of purple.
  • n. A beautiful pigment, or a lake, of this color, prepared from cochineal, and used in miniature painting.
  • n. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The pure coloring matter or principle of cochineal, to which the formula C17H18O10 has been assigned. It forms a purple mass soluble in water.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Specifically A pigment made from cochineal.

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

  • n. a variable color averaging a vivid red
  • adj. of a color at the end of the color spectrum (next to orange); resembling the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies
  • v. 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.


  • Red beverages -- including Campari and Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice -- are often colored with cochineal, aka carmine, a dye derived from insects.

    Anneli Rufus: Are Animals in Your Cocktail?

  • Many cosmetics' ingredients include beeswax, especially lipsticks, as well as lanolin a derivative of sheep's wool, and carmine, which is produced from the bodies of bugs.

    Maya Gottfried: Taking the Cruelty Out of the Fall's Hottest Makeup Trends

  • Each is defined as a carmine lake, and published instructions to create them are similar; Schäffer also includes carmine in his hierarchy of red colors. 2 Schäffer's system suggests that the three are separate colors; did he learn their differences from his color merchant?

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • Some food dyes aren't vegan; red pigment can be cochineal or carmine, which is insects!

    You, Too, Can Have Teletubby Poo

  • Produced by adding aqueous ferrate of potash to an excess of dilute solutions of baryta salts, has been described as carmine-coloured and permanent.

    Field's Chromatography or Treatise on Colours and Pigments as Used by Artists

  • The artist would, however, do well to obtain, all the colors mentioned in the last chapter of this work, and be sure to get the very best, as there are various qualities of the same color, particularly carmine, which is very expensive, and the cupidity of some may induce them to sell a poor article for the sake of larger profits.

    History and Practice of the Art of Photography

  • Another scary and buggy additive to know about is carmine, which is made from the cochineal beetle and generally used as a red food dye

    The Full Feed from

  • This article just drew my attention to the interesting story behind carmine, which is a pigment precipitated from carminic acid (shown below) extracted from the bodies of Dactylopius coccus, the so-called "cochineal" insect, of which the acid comprises up to 24% of dry body weight.

    MAKE Magazine

  • Some people worry that the coloring -- often called carmine or carminic acid -- could be listed as a "natural color," disguising the fact that there are bugs in the product. Main RSS Feed

  • But earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration imposed a rule saying that any food or cosmetic containing cochineal, or a related additive called carmine, be labeled as such. Top News Headlines


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  • 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

  • Where in the World is Carmine Sandiego?

    August 11, 2015

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

    August 11, 2015

  • Hungry for insects? Carmine git it!

    August 11, 2015

  • "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

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

    January 5, 2011

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

    December 21, 2007