\ˈred \
redder; reddest

Definition of red 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : of the color red

b : having red as a distinguishing color

2a(1) : flushed especially with anger or embarrassment

(2) : ruddy, florid

(3) : being or having skin of a coppery hue

b : bloodshot eyes red from crying

c : being in the color range between a moderate orange and russet or bay

d : tinged with red : reddish

3 : heated to redness : glowing

4a : inciting or endorsing radical social or political change especially by force

b often capitalized : communist

c often capitalized : of or relating to a communist country and especially to the U.S.S.R.

5 : tending to support Republicans in a general election red states

red in tooth and claw

: characterized by or displaying brutal emotion or violent behavior


plural reds

Definition of red (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a color whose hue resembles that of blood or of the ruby or is that of the long-wave extreme of the visible spectrum

2 : red clothing the lady in red

3 : one that is of a red or reddish color: such as

a : red wine

b : an animal with a red or reddish coat

4a : a pigment or dye that colors red

b : a shade or tint of red

5a : one who advocates the violent overthrow of an existing social or political order

b capitalized : communist

6 [ from the bookkeeping practice of entering debit items in red ink ] : the condition of showing a loss usually used with the in the red — compare black

7 physics : one of the three colors (see color entry 1 sense 15) that quarks have in the theory of quantum chromodynamics In QCD there is actually not just one type of quark, but three types or "colors" of quarks. These are sometimes denoted as "red," "blue," and "green" quarks …— Edward Witten

Definition of red (Entry 3 of 4)

reduce; reduction


geographical name
\ˈred \

Definition of Red (Entry 4 of 4)

1 river 1018 miles (1638 kilometers) long flowing east on the Oklahoma–Texas boundary and into the Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers in Louisiana

2 river in north central U.S. and south central Canada flowing north on the Minnesota–North Dakota boundary and into Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba

3 — see arctic red

4 or Hong \ ˈhȯŋ \ or (in China) Yuan \ yu̇-​ˈän , -​ˈan \ river 500 miles (805 kilometers) long in southeastern Asia rising in central Yunnan, China, and flowing southeast across northern Vietnam into the Gulf of Tonkin

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of red in a Sentence


a shiny red fire truck His face turns red when he gets angry.


The artist uses red to symbolize passion. a lady dressed in red the reds and oranges of autumn leaves
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Dressed in red and blue costumes, performers Laura Biondo, 29, of Venezuela, and Abou Traore, 27, of Paris, balanced soccer balls on their heads and juggled them with their feet. Margeaux Sippell,, "A glimpse of Cirque du Soleil in Downtown Crossing," 8 July 2018 Using red or blue corn, both of which have more nutrition than the white and yellow varieties, the organic popcorn is flavored with Sicilian sea salt, l0-month-old aged Parmesan and clarified butter. Kavita Daswani,, "4 ideas for guilt-free summer snacking," 7 July 2018 While Lee famously thought of the idea for Peter Parker's Spider-Man, The Hollywood Reporter notes that Ditko created the costume, the web shooters, the red and blue design. CBS News, "Steve Ditko, artist who co-created Spider-Man, dead at 90," 6 July 2018 Near the end of his spell in red and blue, Cabaye could barely see out games, lasting around 70 minutes before his influence on the match waned., "Yohan Cabaye's Time at Crystal Palace Was Underappreciated, But His Arrival Was a Landmark Moment," 5 July 2018 Diving, the term for soccer players trying to trick referees into thinking that they’re injured, is a controversial tactic aimed at getting referees to call fouls, which can lead to penalty kicks, or yellow or red cards. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "South African KFC Commercial Mocks Neymar's World Cup Rolling. Check it Out," 5 July 2018 The base for both was a platter layered with overlapping slices of yellow and red tomatoes for visual punch. Emily Spicer, San Antonio Express-News, "The most summery of salads: Tomatoes 2 ways," 4 July 2018 As with paint, purple can be created by mixing red and blue. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "O say can you see? The science behind the booms and blooms of Independence Day fireworks," 3 July 2018 However, disciplinary records now come into play, rewarding the team that has received the lower number of yellow and red cards. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Senegal eliminated from World Cup by cruelest criteria – yellow cards," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Just remember that even after the red disappears, nothing can really reverse the effects of a sunburn. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "This DIY Sunburn Hack Involving Shaving Cream Is Going Viral — and Derms Approve of It," 27 June 2018 Justin Bryam, a 23-year-old from Frederick, Md., was ready to rock the red at the rally stage before dawn. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Washington celebrates the Capitals first Stanley Cup with a victory parade and rally," 12 June 2018 Because of the lack of attention paid to them, the reds in the Biloxi Marsh are about as thick and dumb as fish can get, charging and attacking spinnerbaits to ensure their nearby neighbors can't beat them to it. Todd Masson,, "Underfished marsh crawling with redfish," 31 May 2018 One of the standout reds is the Pinot Noir from Underwood. Anne Schamberg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Canned wine? Really? Sales are growing for portable, chillable and down-to-earth drinks," 24 May 2018 The full-bodied, oaked red from Mendoza, Argentina, is delightful alongside a tartine (a classy open-face sandwich) featuring made-in-house Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, roasted garlic aioli, and grated provolone. Ellen Bhang,, "At East Arlington’s Commune Kitchen, a meaty tartine and an Argentine red," 8 May 2018 The brown would also bring out the red in his hair. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Madelaine Petsch Gets Shady With the Cast of 'Riverdale'," 10 Apr. 2018 Any steep reduction, or outright suspension, of U.S. film imports could easily push China's annual box office growth into the red while also hurting local distributors and exhibitors, many of which are still aggressively expanding. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Will Hollywood Get Caught in Trump's China Trade War Crossfire?," 13 July 2018 Sony, founded in 1946, has had its share of problems, sinking into the red in recent years. Yuri Kageyama, USA TODAY, "Sony to buy an extra 60% percent stake in EMI Music Publishing," 22 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of red


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for red


Middle English, from Old English rēad; akin to Old High German rōt red, Latin ruber & rufus, Greek erythros

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about red

Dictionary Entries near red








Statistics for red

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for red

The first known use of red was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for red



Financial Definition of red

What It Is

Red is slang for loss. Losses are the negative amount remaining after all costs, depreciation, interest, taxes, and other expenses have been deducted from total sales. The formula for profit is:

Total Sales - Total Expenses = Profit

When expenses exceed sales, a company is “in the red.”

How It Works

Here is some information about Company XYZ for last year:

Using the formula and the information above, we can calculate that Company XYZ's profit was:

$1,000,000 - $500,000 - $400,000 - $200,000 - $5,000 + $1,000 = -$104,000

This means that Company XYZ lost $104,000 last year. It was “in the red.”

Why It Matters

Philosophically speaking, being in the red is bad. Being in “the black,” which means a company is profitable, is what motivates industry, entrepreneurship and innovation. It is the very thing that enables people to feed themselves, clothe their families, create jobs and set money aside for the future.

Profit is one of the most analyzed numbers a company can produce, and it plays a part in many other financial measures. It is also important to understand that changes in accounting methods can greatly influence whether a company is in the red, and these changes may have little to do with a company's actual operations.

In the retail industry, companies are often in the red until the fourth quarter, when Christmas shopping begins. This is the source of the term “Black Friday.”

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of red

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having the color of blood

: reddish brown or reddish orange in color

of a person's face : pink because of embarrassment, anger, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of red (Entry 2 of 2)

: the color of blood

Red : a Communist or someone who supports Communists


\ˈred \
redder; reddest

Kids Definition of red

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of the color of blood : colored red a red light

2 : flushed with emotion (as embarrassment) His face was red.

Other Words from red

redness noun



Kids Definition of red (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the color of blood or of the ruby

2 : something red in color She's wearing red.

Keep scrolling for more


\ˈred \
redder; reddest

Medical Definition of red 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of the color red



Medical Definition of red (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a color whose hue resembles that of blood or of the ruby or is that of the long-wave extreme of the visible spectrum

2 : a pigment or dye that colors red — see congo red, neutral red, vital red

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on red

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for red

Spanish Central: Translation of red

Nglish: Translation of red for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of red for Arabic Speakers

Comments on red

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

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


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!