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