1A red dye used, especially formerly, for coloring fabrics and manuscripts.
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- 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.
late 16th century (denoting the kermes oak): from French kermès, from Arabic ḳirmiz; related to crimson.