\ 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On Friday, a large pro-government caravan drove slowly through Managua, with supporters waving red-and-black Sandinista flags from car windows. Washington Post,, "Two killed as pro-government militia traps protesters in Nicaraguan church," 14 July 2018 Brit came out in wings in front of a red and black screen with a gothic, Tim Burton vibe. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Britney Spears is back on tour and you better believe she's here to work," 13 July 2018 In stark red and black canvases that employ figures distorted by violence, the Los Angeles artist tackles issues of police power and the darker chapters of U.S. history. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 England wearing white instead of red and the game being shown on channel 3 was always going to precede failure., "England: Who Is to Blame?," 12 July 2018 The sign also incorporates about 1,000 feet of red and green neon tubing. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "Western Auto sign countdown: Iconic neon beacon to light up KC once more," 10 July 2018 Catherine Hautphenne covered her legs in sunscreen while her red-and-yellow Romelo Lukaku jersey gleamed in the sun. Sarah Ravani,, "French connection: Fans flock to San Francisco’s World Cup watch party," 10 July 2018 For Charlotte's three years ago, Prince George wore a red and white outfit that was very similar to something his father had worn as a toddler. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Prince George and Prince William Matched at Their Baby Brothers' Christenings—34 Years Apart," 9 July 2018 The Assembly kit is like a high-powered picnic basket—every utensil and gadget is packed into a small red and white carrier with a handle. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "All-in-one portable kitchen designed for millennials short on time and space," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

James Harden scored 27 points and the Mike D’Antoni Show poured in 127, tying the Western Conference finals — which some foolishly insisted would be a Golden State sweep — at 1-1 inside a pounding Toyota Center drenched in red. Brian T. Smith, San Francisco Chronicle, "View from Houston: Rockets rebound with defense to even series with Warriors," 16 May 2018 In the Republican Primary, DeWine won 83 of the 88 counties (shown in red). Rich Exner,, "Where Mike DeWine, Richard Cordray ran strongest in Ohio's 2018 gubernatorial primaries (graphics)," 9 May 2018 The boys berated her, with the one in red concluding by calling her a welfare queen. Zito Madu, GQ, "Art in a World Shaped by Trayvon," 24 Apr. 2018 Funds styles in the red topped those in the black by 19 to 7 in March, with Short Biased-style funds leading the table at 2.64 percent on the upside. Adam Manzor,, "Hedge Funds Suffer First Back-to-Back Loss in Two Years," 19 Apr. 2018 Stillitano asked if the teams in red would be allowed in the stadium. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Could Michigan Stadium set attendance record with Liverpool, Man. U.?," 18 Apr. 2018 Sanctions for those in the red are not exacting, providing little incentive to be thrifty, notes Nick Bosanquet of Imperial College London. The Economist, "The NHS looks due to get more money. Where should it go?," 28 Mar. 2018 Along the boards are five letters that are properly part of Lasker Rink’s name, letters in red that have been there all along, the name of our future president. Ed Park, The Cut, "One dad on the stories he and his sons share.," 6 Mar. 2018 Head-to-toe red was a major trend on the spring 2018 runways. Hayley Phelan, New York Times, "How to Do Head-to-Toe Red IRL," 21 Feb. 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.

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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

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Statistics for red

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for red

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

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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.

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\ 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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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