\ ˈred How to pronounce red (audio) \
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 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 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 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 4)

reduce; reduction


geographical name
\ ˈred How to pronounce Red (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Hong (audio) \ or (in China) Yuan \ yu̇-​ˈän How to pronounce Yuan (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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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

Two-layer cakes include coconut, German chocolate, Lady Baltimore, butternut, red velvet and lemon. Michelle Matthews |, al, "People flock to this small Alabama town for delicious seven-layer cake," 17 Sep. 2019 And just like Clark, Ellen, Rusty, and Audrey, the girl woman in the red Ferrari passes by Beverly, Murray, and the rest of the fam in their station wagon. Gerrad Hall,, "Why Christie Brinkley was happy to reprise her iconic Vacation role for The Goldbergs season premiere," 17 Sep. 2019 Her Kids Were Little The two then swap the phone so that Burnham, 27, could film while pouring her breast milk into Luyendyk’s eye — which up close, does appear much redder than his other one. Ashley Boucher,, "Arie Luyendyk Jr. Used Wife Lauren's Breast Milk to Try to Cure His Red Eye — and He Says It Worked!," 17 Sep. 2019 There are also mature stands of red fir, white fir, ponderosa pine and sugar pine. Peter Fimrite,, "Biggest private sequoia grove to be preserved in deal with Redwoods League," 17 Sep. 2019 The European Space Agency investigated how lunar colonists might 3-D-print using moon dust, and experiments on rats sent on a simulated Mars mission determined that the red-wine extract resveratrol would help preserve astronauts’ muscle function. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 16 Sep. 2019 The red outlines show the blaze’s heat signatures, the agency said. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "See images of the massive Walker fire from space," 16 Sep. 2019 The University of Georgia's school colors are black and red. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, "UGA fans wear pink to honor Arkansas football coach's wife," 16 Sep. 2019 Also, kids who turn in completed scavenger hunt pages or coloring pages will receive a red balloon. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kids should bring along their favorite stuffed animal to tour the Domes' 'Welcome to Hundred Acre Woods' fall show," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The brightest spot of the season was the strong returns of sockeye salmon that produced a catch of over 55 million fish, the largest since 1995 and the fifth consecutive year of harvests topping 50 million reds. Anchorage Daily News, "Warmer waters threaten to make the commercial salmon fishery less predictable," 17 Sep. 2019 Jumbo reds continue to bite in the passes, particularly at Dixey Bar. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: How heat wave is affecting the bass bite," 13 Sep. 2019 Cèdre Heritage Malbec 2016 Cahors, France, $15 Argentina built its reputation for fine reds on the malbec grape in the 1990s, sparking a friendly rivalry with Cahors, in southwestern France, where the grape has thrived for generations. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "This Rhone Valley red is a rare stunner at just $14," 13 Sep. 2019 The Watermill Winery is in the heart of The Rocks district in Milton-Freewater, and produces affordable, delicious dry reds. Sally Carpenter Hale,, "Like wine from France’s Rhone Valley? Head to Walla Walla," 13 Sep. 2019 The two men dedicated months to training the dogs—a blend of black-and-tans, blue ticks, and red ticks. Sean Viljoen, National Geographic, "Texas hounds chase down rhino poachers in South Africa," 11 Sep. 2019 Jane Ross, Ella Toone and Abbie McManus, who spent 12 years at City across two difference spells and came through the club's youth system, have all swapped blue for red. Matias Grez, CNN, "'We know how big it potentially could be': City earns bragging rights in first women's Manchester Derby," 7 Sep. 2019 Now, with financial and marketing help from its government, Georgian wine was becoming a sought-after commodity on the world stage as the country’s rustic, honeyed amber wines and fierce, spicy reds began to find an enthusiastic fan base. Esther Mobley,, "In Sonoma, a natural winemaker looks to the Republic of Georgia for inspiration," 15 Aug. 2019 But this doesn’t mean reds don’t get any love when temps hit triple digits. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "12 Arizona wines to sip by the pool this summer," 1 Aug. 2019

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 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"


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

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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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
somewhat old-fashioned, informal + disapproving : a Communist or someone who supports Communists


\ 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.

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\ 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

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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

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