cin·​na·​bar | \ ˈsi-nə-ˌbär How to pronounce cinnabar (audio) \

Definition of cinnabar

1 : artificial red mercuric sulfide used especially as a pigment
2 : a red mineral consisting of native mercuric sulfide HgS that is the only important ore of mercury
3 : a deep vivid red

Other Words from cinnabar

cinnabarine \ ˈsi-​nə-​bə-​ˌrīn How to pronounce cinnabar (audio) , -​ˌbär-​in \ adjective

Examples of cinnabar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During the period studied, cinnabar was used to decorate megalithic chambers, figurines and the bodies of the dead. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Nov. 2021 Some scholars posit that people intentionally ingested cinnabar as a drug during religious ceremonies, but this hypothesis remains unproven. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Nov. 2021 At the time of the discovery, researchers identified the red pigment as the mineral cinnabar, which was used for its bright red color across many cultures. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Oct. 2021 Medieval painters used a variety of pigments, some of which were quite toxic (cinnabar, orpiment, and lead white in particular). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Dec. 2021 Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, Almadén’s cinnabar trove was first exploited during the Neolithic period, around 7,000 years ago, reports Yasemin Saplakoglu for Live Science. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Nov. 2021 Shorn of ornament and minimally furnished, the fortresslike vacation home is all jutting red sandstone angles and expanses of glass, opening onto the cinnabar-hued landscape. New York Times, 20 Sep. 2021 Back then the Silverado Trail was a wagon route from the cinnabar mines to the docks of San Pablo Bay. Jill Barth, Forbes, 24 June 2021 But blush prevailed again during the Renaissance, with concoctions of cochineal, sandalwood, or cinnabar mixed with grease or wax. Linda Wells, Town & Country, 16 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of cinnabar

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cinnabar

Middle English cynabare, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French sinopre, from Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, of non-Indo-European origin; akin to Arabic zinjafr cinnabar

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

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cinnabar green

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Cite this Entry

“Cinnabar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for cinnabar


cin·​na·​bar | \ ˈsin-ə-ˌbär How to pronounce cinnabar (audio) \

Medical Definition of cinnabar

1 : native red sulfide of mercury HgS that is the only important ore of mercury
2 : artificial red sulfide of mercury used especially as a pigment

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