Definition of kermes in English:


Line breaks: ker¦mes
Pronunciation: /ˈkəːmɪz


1 [mass noun] A red dye obtained from the crushed dried bodies of a female scale insect, used for colouring 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.
2 (oak kermes) The scale insect from which kermes is obtained, forming berry-like galls on the kermes oak.
  • Kermes illicis, family Eriococcidae, suborder Homoptera


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

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