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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A species of insect (Dactylopius coccus).
  • n. A vivid red dye made from the bodies of cochineal insects.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.

from The 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.
  • n. The insect which produces the dyestuff known by the same name. See def. 1.

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

  • 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)
From French cochenille, from Ancient Greek κόκκινος ("red tint"), from κόκκος, from Latin coccus ("berry or grain")[2] (term applied to coccus quercus, a scale insect used in the production of red dye) (Wiktionary)



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