Definition of cinnabar in English:


Line breaks: cin¦na|bar
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪnəbɑː


  • 1 [mass noun] A bright red mineral consisting of mercury sulphide, sometimes used as a pigment.
    More example sentences
    • Allergy to tattoo pigment is rare, but reaction to cinnabar, the red pigment, is the most common.
    • But, among what Ms. Moore lists as ‘poisonous’ pigments are cinnabar and realgar.
    • Some of the oldest focus not on gold but on cinnabar, the red mineral mercury sulphide.
  • 1.1The bright red colour of cinnabar: [as modifier]: the blood coagulated in cinnabar threads
    More example sentences
    • The yellow is paired with a brilliant, beautiful cinnabar red.
    • The thick curly mass of her cinnabar hair hung heavily, almost to her waist when wet.
    • The white plaster dust had been washed out of his hair and now his rich cinnabar mane shone.
  • 2 (also cinnabar moth) A day-flying moth with black and red wings, whose black and yellow caterpillars feed on groundsel and ragwort.
    • Tyria jacobaeae, family Arctiidae
    More example sentences
    • In recent years, ragwort hysteria has led to a decline in numbers of cinnabars.
    • Ragwort is the food plant for more than 70 species of insects, most notably the cinnabar moth.
    • Ragwort supports the life cycle of a multitude of creatures, most notably the cinnabar moth.


Middle English: from Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, of oriental origin.

More definitions of cinnabar

Definition of cinnabar in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody