red lead


: an orange-red to brick-red lead oxide Pb3O4 used in storage-battery plates, in glass and ceramics, and as a paint pigment

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The book’s original illustrators, based in Angers, used red lead paint, while the artists in Nantes who painted over the portrait used vermillion red for Isabella’s gown and coats of arms. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 May 2021 Isabella's coat of arms was added to the floral borders, using the same vermilion red as her gown, which the analysis distinguished from the red lead paint of the original. Maev Kennedy, CNN, 19 May 2021

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of red lead was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near red lead

Cite this Entry

“Red lead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

red lead


: an orange-red to brick-red oxide of lead used in storage-battery plates, in glass, and in paint
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