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.

More definitions of kermes

Definition of kermes in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: məˈlôrd
used to address an English nobleman