Definition of kermes in English:


Syllabification: ker·mes
Pronunciation: /ˈkermēz


  • 1A red dye used, especially formerly, for coloring fabrics and manuscripts.
    More example sentences
    • Traditional red colourings include kermes and cochineal, both of which are pigments made by crushing masses of tiny insects.
    • In medieval color symbolism, red often connoted sin, but it also indicated wealth, especially in trecento Italy, where woolen cloth dyed in kermes was the most expensive.
    • Exports from the city of Arcadia included wool, wax, silk, and kermes, destined for Venice via Zakynthos.
  • 1.1The dried bodies of a female scale insect, which are crushed to yield this dye.
  • 2 (oak kermes) The scale insect from which kermes is obtained, forming berrylike galls on the kermes oak.
    • Kermes ilicis, family Eriococcidae, suborder Homoptera


late 16th century (denoting the kermes oak): from French kermès, from Arabic ḳirmiz; related to crimson.

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