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

  • n. A bright red mercuric sulfide used as a pigment.
  • n. A vivid red to reddish orange. Also called Chinese red, cinnabar.
  • adj. Of a vivid red to reddish orange.
  • transitive v. To color or dye (something) in the hue vermilion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vivid red synthetic pigment made of mercury sulfide.
  • n. A vivid red or slightly orange colour.
  • n. A type of red dye worn in the parting of the hair by married Hindu women.
  • n. A red skin of the lip or its border with the skin of the face.
  • adj. Having a brilliant red colour.
  • adj. Having the color of the vermilion dye.
  • v. To color or paint vermilion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bright red pigment consisting of mercuric sulphide, obtained either from the mineral cinnabar or artificially. It has a fine red color, and is much used in coloring sealing wax, in printing, etc.
  • n. Hence, a red color like the pigment; a lively and brilliant red.
  • transitive v. To color with vermilion, or as if with vermilion; to dye red; to cover with a delicate red.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The kermes- or cochineal-insect; also, the product of cochineal; worm-dye.
  • n. The red sulphid of mercury, or the mineral cinnabar, occurring in nature of a red-brown to a carmine-red color; also, a pigment formerly made by grinding selected pieces of native cinnabar, but now made artificially.
  • n. A color such as that of the above pigment; a beautiful brilliant red color.
  • n. A cotton cloth dyed with vermilion.
  • n. Same as vermeil, 4.
  • Of the color of vermilion; of the brilliant pure-red color common in the bloom of the single scarlet geranium: as, a vermilion dye.
  • To color with or as with vermilion; dye red; cover or suffuse with a bright red.

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

  • v. color vermilion
  • n. a variable color that is vivid red but sometimes with an orange tinge
  • adj. of a vivid red to reddish-orange color


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

Middle English vermelion, from Old French vermeillon, from vermeil; see vermeil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French vermeil ("vermilion"), from Latin vermiculus ("little worm"), the coccus Indicus, from vermis ("worm").



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  • Usage note in comment on mercuric sulfide and kermes, and on wormberry.

    Also, "Those who turned to the Bible to reconcile the controversy were disappointed. Although the Vulgate used the word <i>vermilion</i>, or 'little worm,' to describe the color produced by grain, lending credence to the idea that the dyestuff had animal origins, the Bible made no definite pronouncements either way."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, <i>A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire</i> (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 127.

    October 4, 2017

  • "I wanted to know the original spelling of the name Jean. I learned it when I received a letter from a nephew of Mme de Villeparisis who signs himself—as he was christened, as he figures in the Almanach de Gotha—Jehan de Villeparisis, with the same handsome, superfluous, heraldic h that we admire, illuminated in vermilion or ultramarine, in a Book of Hours or in a stained-glass window."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 39 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    December 25, 2009

  • also see vermillion.

    November 17, 2007

  • "In amazon costume, hard hat, jackboots cockspurred, vermilion waistcoat, fawn musketeer gauntlets with braided drums, long train held up and hunting crop with which she strikes her welt constantly."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    February 8, 2007