red

1 of 3

adjective

redder; reddest
1
a
: of the color red
a red rose
red tomatoes
I stopped at the red light.
b
: having red as a distinguishing color
He was captain of the red team.
2
a(1)
: flushed especially with anger or embarrassment
Her red face made clear that his remark was cruel.
(2)
: ruddy, florid
a healthy child with red cheeks
(3)
: being or having skin tinged with red due to inflammation
The wound was red and swollen.
Her skin was red from hours in the sun.
(4)
offensive : being or having skin of a coppery hue
b
: bloodshot
eyes red from crying
c
of hair, fur, etc. : being in the color range between a moderate orange and russet or bay
a red setter
a horse with a red coat
d
: tinged with red : reddish
a red sky/sunrise
red wine
red onions/potatoes
3
: heated to redness : glowing
red coals
4
a
: inciting or endorsing radical social or political change especially by force
b
often Red : communist
c
often Red : of or relating to a communist country and especially to the former Soviet Union
5
US politics : tending to support Republican candidates or policies
Some choices are easy. You're either a dog guy or a cat guy. Red state or blue.Rick Reilly
compare blue sense 9, purple sense 3

red

2 of 3

noun

plural reds
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
b
: an animal with a red or reddish coat
4
a
: a pigment or dye that colors red
b
: a shade or tint of red
5
a
: 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 sense 7
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

red

3 of 3

abbreviation

reduce; reduction
Phrases
red in tooth and claw
: characterized by or displaying brutal emotion or violent behavior

Examples of red in a Sentence

Adjective a shiny red fire truck His face turns red when he gets angry. Noun The artist uses red to symbolize passion. a lady dressed in red the reds and oranges of autumn leaves
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
In between walking red carpets and attending charity events together, the pair welcomed two children, daughters Evangeline Ruth and Elijah. Ellie Beeck, Peoplemag, 6 Feb. 2023 Unusually, its tan Connolly leather interior is contrasted with red carpets. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 5 Feb. 2023 Music’s biggest night returns to Los Angeles on Sunday, and along with it, one of Hollywood’s grandest red carpets. Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2023 For example: Since cutting onions can make eyes water, a homeopathic treatment for itching or watering eyes would be diluted red onion. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2023 Here’s a look at this week’s biggest premieres, parties and openings in Los Angeles and New York, including red carpets for Your Place or Mine, Knock at the Cabin, 80 for Brady and the kickoff of Grammy weekend events. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Feb. 2023 Keep reading for 9 trends seen on the runways and red carpets that everyone will be adopting soon. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2023 Pink and crimson aren't only for red carpets, though. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 26 Jan. 2023 Add thinly sliced fennel and red onion, some arugula, mint or basil leaves, a sprinkling of red pepper, a pinch of wild oregano, a little flaky salt. David Tanis, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2023
Noun
In low light, bright reds appear darker, faded and sometimes almost black, while blues and greens tend to become more vibrant — and a total solar eclipse provides an ideal opportunity to observe this shift. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 But for some prospective participants, especially reds, joining in events like these is unappealing, said Long, Braver Angels’ incoming red state coordinator. Sarah Cutler, Idaho Statesman, 2 Apr. 2024 While lunar eclipses themselves aren't exceedingly rare, the specific conditions required for the moon to appear blood-red make this phenomenon relatively unusual. The Arizona Republic, 1 Apr. 2024 Jukes, Surely, and Fre all offer solid spirit-free reds. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 Mar. 2024 The wine list, meanwhile, focuses on pours from Napa and Bordeaux, rich reds that complement the intensely flavorful food. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 29 Mar. 2024 Salsa Red This vinca in the Soiree Flamenco line is bright red and was introduced this year. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Journal Sentinel, 29 Mar. 2024 Some even have two zones to keep white wines slightly colder than reds (though still not as cold as your kitchen fridge). Dave McIntyre, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2024 Falcone also likes bright red on fair skin and suggests opting for something with cooler tones like the OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red. Audrey Noble, Vogue, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'red.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English red, rede, reed, going back to Old English rēad, going back to Germanic *rauđa- (whence also Old Frisian rād, rōd "red, yellow," Old Saxon rōd "red," Middle Dutch root, rood, Old High German rōt, Old Norse rauðr, Gothic rauþs), going back to Indo-European *h1rou̯dh-o-, whence also Old Irish rúad "reddish brown, dark red," Welsh rhudd "red, tawny," Latin rūfus (from a dialect or another Italic language, with -f- for expected -b-), Lithuanian raũdas "red-brown, reddish," Russian dialect rúdyj "blood-red," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian rûd "reddish brown"; from a suffixed zero-grade form *h1rudh-ro-, Old Norse roðra "blood," Latin ruber "red," Tocharian B ratre, Greek erythrós, Sanskrit rudhiráḥ "red, bloody"

Note: The Modern English form reflects shortening of Middle English ę̄ (long open e), found in other monosyllabic words ending in a voiced dental stop (compare dead entry 1, head entry 1, shred entry 1); as with shred, this change took place early enough to be reflected in early Modern English spelling (unlike dead and head). The surnames Read, Reade, etc., may preserve the long vowel.

Noun

Middle English red, reed, derivative of red, reed red entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near red

Cite this Entry

“Red.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/red. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

red

1 of 2 adjective
redder; reddest
1
: of the color red
2
a
: flushed especially with anger or embarrassment
b
: bloodshot
eyes red from weeping
3
a
: openly supporting sweeping social or political change especially by force
b
: encouraging, aiding, or furthering Communism : communist
c
: of or relating to the U.S.S.R. or a Communist country
redly adverb
redness noun

red

2 of 2 noun
1
: a color like that of blood or a ruby
2
: one that is of a red color
3
: a dye that colors red
4
a
: a person who seeks the overthrow of a social or political order : revolutionary
b
often capitalized : communist
5
: the condition of showing a loss
in the red

Medical Definition

red

1 of 2 adjective
redder; reddest
: of the color red

red

2 of 2 noun
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

Geographical Definition

Red

geographical name

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
4
or Hong or (in China) Yuan
yu̇-ˈän How to pronounce Red (audio)
-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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