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

  • n. A red dyestuff once prepared from the dried bodies of various female scale insects of the genus Kermes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any of several insects of the genus Kermes
  • n. Crimson dye made from the crushed bodies of these insects

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The dried bodies of the females of a scale insect (Kermes ilices formerly Coccus ilicis), allied to the cochineal insect, and found on several species of oak near the Mediterranean; also, the dye obtained from them. They are round, about the size of a pea, contain coloring matter analogous to carmine, and are used in dyeing. They were anciently thought to be of a vegetable nature, and were used in medicine.
  • n. A small European evergreen oak (Quercus coccifera) on which the kermes insect (Kermes ilices, formerly Coccus ilicis) feeds.
  • n. A genus of scale insects including many species that feed on oaks. The adult female resembles a small gall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A red dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of the females of one or two species of Coccus, especially C. ilicis, an insect found on various species of oak in countries bordering on the Mediterranean.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL,] A genus of Coccinæ erected by Targioni-Tozzetti.
  • n. Short for kermes-mineral, or, more properly, mineral kermes.


French kermès, short for alkermès, from Arabic al-qirmiz, the kermes, probably from Sanskrit kṛmi-ja-, (red dye) produced by worms; see kwr̥mi- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Persian قرمز (qermez). (Wiktionary)



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