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

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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 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 The researchers found that trace amounts of cinnabar, a blood-red pigment heavy in mercury that is sometimes used for decorative purposes and is often used in embalming was evident in traces on the exterior of the femur piece. Rebecca Coffey, Forbes, 3 Mar. 2021 In a study lab across town, paleobotanists and archaeozoologists analyzed fragments, and researchers painstakingly repaired a 10-foot-high wall fresco painted with pigment made from ground cinnabar. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2021 The colors pictured here are those that Balla himself specified: a smoldering combination of cinnabar, citron and deep forest. Nancy Hass, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2020 One grave unearthed by archaeologists contained roughly 20 pounds of powdered cinnabar. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 July 2020 The researchers attribute the mercury pollution’s presence to the mineral cinnabar, or mercuric sulfide. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 July 2020 Tikal residents’ widespread use of cinnabar, especially in and around the city’s temples and main palace, likely resulted in dangerous quantities of the mercury-laden powder washing into the reservoirs during heavy rainfall. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 July 2020 There are a few color options for each cover including chocolate, cinnabar, silver fox, and chestnut. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 30 June 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for cinnabar

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

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Dictionary Entries Near cinnabar



cinnabar green

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Cite this Entry

“Cinnabar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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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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