cochineal insect


Definition of cochineal insect

: a small red cactus-feeding scale insect (Dactylopius coccus) the females of which are the source of cochineal

Examples of cochineal insect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That involves releasing cochineal insects that feed on the cactus, killing it off, but not spreading to any other plant species. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "Kenyan 'devil's cactus' is spreading out of control -- but tech is fighting back," 9 Dec. 2019 Carmine, a bright-red color, is created by crushing Armenian and Polish cochineal insects, species that are now endangered. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "Peek into the Colorful History of the World’s Largest Pigment Collection," 14 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of cochineal insect

1801, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of cochineal insect was in 1801

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Cite this Entry

“Cochineal insect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for cochineal insect

cochineal insect


Medical Definition of cochineal insect

: a small bright red cactus-feeding scale insect (Dactylopius coccus) the females of which are the source of cochineal

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