ce·​ruse | \ sə-ˈrüs , ˈsir-ˌüs \

Definition of ceruse

1 : white lead as a pigment
2 : a cosmetic containing white lead

Examples of ceruse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Since most of us don't have flawless porcelain complexions, the Elizabethans — at least those who could afford it — used a product called ceruse, which was a blend of vinegar and, wait for it, white lead. Donna Freydkin, Allure, "Margot Robbie Spied With RED Hair for Her Role as Queen Elizabeth I," 21 Aug. 2017 This mixture of lead and vinegar that Elizabeth used was known as Venetian ceruse, or the spirits of Saturn. National Geographic, "Arsenic Pills and Lead Foundation: The History of Toxic Makeup," 22 Sep. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ceruse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ceruse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ceruse

Middle English, from Middle French céruse, from Latin cerussa

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ceruse

Statistics for ceruse

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ceruse

The first known use of ceruse was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ceruse


ce·​ruse | \ sə-ˈrüs , ˈsi(ə)r-ˌüs \

Medical Definition of ceruse

1 : white lead as a pigment
2 : a cosmetic containing white lead

More from Merriam-Webster on ceruse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ceruse

Comments on ceruse

What made you want to look up ceruse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!