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

  • n. A heavy reddish mercuric sulfide, HgS, that is the principal ore of mercury.
  • n. Red mercuric sulfide used as a pigment.
  • n. See vermilion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A deep red mineral, mercuric sulfide, HgS; the principal ore of mercury; such ore used as the pigment vermilion.
  • n. A bright red colour tinted with orange.
  • adj. Of a bright red colour tinted with orange.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Red sulphide of mercury, occurring in brilliant red crystals, and also in red or brown amorphous masses. It is used in medicine.
  • n. The artificial red sulphide of mercury used as a pigment; vermilion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Red Sulphid of mercury.
  • n. A red resinous juice obtained from an East Indian tree, Calamus Draco, formerly used as an astringent; dragon's-blood.

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

  • n. a heavy reddish mineral consisting of mercuric sulfide; the chief source of mercury
  • n. large red-and-black European moth; larvae feed on leaves of ragwort; introduced into United States to control ragwort
  • adj. of a vivid red to reddish-orange color


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

Middle English cinabare, from Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari.


  • Her arms and legs wound around the trunk, her incandescent forehead pressed against the ancient idol, this offshoot of Roman Priapus that had escaped being daubed in cinnabar by womenfolk.

    A Different Stripe:

  • Most inorganic mercury compounds are white powders or crystals, except for mercuric sulfide (also known as cinnabar) which is red and turns black after exposure to light.


  • These more naturalistic masks, particularly from around what is now the state of Vera Cruz, show that the profiles of deities were carved and outlined in cinnabar.

    The Masks Of Mexico (Part 1)

  • ~ Mercury occurs in nature chiefly as the sulphide (HgS) called cinnabar, and in globules of metal inclosed in the cinnabar.

    An Elementary Study of Chemistry

  • It forms part of a soft, red rock called cinnabar, composed of mercury and sulphur.

    St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 5, March, 1878

  • I picked it up and found it to be a scrap of yellow paper with words elegantly written on it in cinnabar.

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • The ore known as cinnabar is of a dark-red colour, and gives a beautiful appearance to the galleries.

    The Mines and its Wonders

  • One is a recessive mutation that produces flies with cinnabar coloured eyes It is called the cinnabar mutant.

    Yahoo! Answers: Latest Questions

  • For a discussion of _moly_ see Andrew Lang's "Custom and Myth".] [377: Frazer, p. 6.] [378: In Socotra a tree (dracæna) has been identified with the dragon, and its exudation, "dragon's blood," was called cinnabar, and confused with the mineral (red sulphide of mercury), or simply with red ochre.

    The Evolution of the Dragon

  • These last few have been days to hold on to: bright sunshine through fat-bottomed clouds; ringlet butterflies flickering over flowering grasses; yellow-and-black-banded cinnabar moth caterpillars twitching as they spun threads to tie themselves to ragwort; bright pink lip-gloss heads of pyramidal orchids – these things once observed becoming dearly held.

    Country diary: Wenlock Edge


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  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide.

    October 4, 2017

  • The sound of this word is so evocative, so exotic.

    October 13, 2014

  • from Persian zanjifrah

    August 30, 2009

  • "The floor is covered with an oilcloth mosaic of jade and azure and cinnabar rhomboids." Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 1, 2008