\ ˈred How to pronounce red (audio) \
redder; reddest

Definition of red

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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.
2a(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
4a : 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 in tooth and claw
: characterized by or displaying brutal emotion or violent behavior


plural reds

Definition of red (Entry 2 of 3)

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 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

Definition of red (Entry 3 of 3)

reduce; reduction

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 Turner wore her dark red hair in pigtail braids and accessorized with gray sunglasses. Alyssa Bailey, ELLE, 13 May 2022 What could be more American than red, white, and blue? Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 13 May 2022 The core ingredient used in this cleanser is calming feverfew - a natural ingredient related to chamomile, it can be used topically to help in calming sensitive skin and reducing the appearance of irritated, red, and dry skin. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 The waffle maker features five browning settings that are controlled with a sliding lever and red and green indicator lights. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 This year, since the draft leak, there have been demonstrations across the nation, including in red, purple and blue states. Gina Glantz, CNN, 13 May 2022 Every Si gets the same red-and-black cloth interior, but its equipment largely matches that of the less powerful Civic Touring, sans the leather. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 12 May 2022 Kylie was wearing a red and white Kool-Aid hoodie, matching sweatpants and white converse sneakers. Carol Robinson |, al, 12 May 2022 The iPhone 14 will be available in black, white, blue, red, and purple. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 12 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On March 18, Tymofiy scribbled in red, with a drawing of a devil shooting sparks from its eyes. Isabel Coles, WSJ, 13 May 2022 On Sunday, the actress, 43, shared a sweet throwback photo on Instagram of her and mom, Goldie Hawn, both dressed in red. Alexandra Schonfeld,, 9 May 2022 In the family room, blue-green paint refreshes cabinetry once slathered in red. Sally Finder Weepie, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 The show ended with the customary running bow that Wang is known for, minus the cartwheels, and a cannon of confetti that spinkled the stage and the guests in red -- the color of good luck and prosperity in the Chinese culture. Samantha Tse, CNN, 21 Apr. 2022 More examples of the second LAROI, dressed in red, antagonizing the first are included in the video, including shots of him dropping a piano on himself and giving himself an unauthorized surgery with an evil grin on his face. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 21 Apr. 2022 Just a week ago, Ariana DeBose wore a similar Valentino look in red to win the best supporting actress Oscar. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 3 Apr. 2022 The man in red is Alex Evans, executive director and head puppeteer at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Karen Kaplanscience And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly won the special election in 2020, outpolling Joe Biden in a state that has moved from red to purple. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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 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.


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

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

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Red.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for red


\ ˈred How to pronounce red (audio) \
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.


\ ˈred How to pronounce red (audio) \
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

Red geographical name

\ ˈred How to pronounce Red (audio) \

Definition of Red

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 How to pronounce Red (audio) \ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on red

Nglish: Translation of red for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of red for Arabic Speakers


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