scar·​let | \ ˈskär-lət How to pronounce scarlet (audio) \

Definition of scarlet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : scarlet cloth or clothes
2 : any of various bright reds



Definition of scarlet (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of the color scarlet
2a : grossly and glaringly offensive sinning in flagrant and scarlet fashion— G. W. Johnson
b [ from the use of the word in Isaiah 1:18 & Revelation 17:1–6 (King James Version) ] : of, characterized by, or associated with sexual immorality a scarlet woman

Examples of scarlet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Asymmetrical with a jeweled neckline and strategic cutouts, the look popped against the backdrop of scarlet stairs and throngs of photographers. Vogue, "Bella Hadid Remains Cannes’s Queen of the Red Dress," 17 May 2019 Last night’s New York City premiere for Assassination Nation sponsored by SVEDKA, gave us femme fatale superheroes, fighting for justice in scarlet trenchcoats. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and More Attend the New York City Premiere for Assassination Nation," 18 Sep. 2018 But for Garcia, it’s more about sensual strokes of scarlet, violet, and cobalt; wallpapers and bathtubs edged in gold; and an aviary of faux birds, from parakeets to peacocks. Sarah Khan, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Jacques Garcia Turned an Old Church into London's Hottest Hotel," 23 Aug. 2018 But like typical proud Gryffindors, fans from the scarlet and gold house had a different reaction, awarding points to their beloved favorite house in the Instagram comments. Nicole Weaver, Teen Vogue, "Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis Had a Little "Harry Potter" Reunion," 20 Aug. 2018 Ipomoea Quamoclit The cypress vine grows from 6 to 25 feet in a beautiful scarlet color. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "18 Summer Flowers That Can Take The Heat," 27 July 2016 The four lipsticks, which come in metallic lavender packaging, include Wine (an oxblood), Cosmic Lily (a dusty violet), Vintage Red (a true scarlet), and a creamy plum taupe called Heather Mauve that is all Brown. Katheryn Erickson, Town & Country, "American Beauties," 31 Jan. 2014 My nose was Rudolph-crimson, my eyes puffy, and a splotch of scarlet bloomed in the middle of each cheek, like on a Russian nesting doll. Nadia Berenstein, SELF, "Holiday Parties Bring Out the Worst of My Rosacea," 19 Dec. 2018 Emma Roberts snapped selfies in a scarlet suit, while the Haim sisters created their own photoshoot-worthy moments in autumnal hues of copper, oxblood, and cream. Vogue, "Chloé and MOCA Make a Splash With Two New Exhibitions," 28 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With her flamenco-esque red Rosie Assoulin dress and matching headband of large scarlet flowers, Flicker looked like the living embodiment of the dancing-woman emoji. Andrea Park, Allure, "Emmy Awards Guest Sarah Sophie Flicker Wrote "Stop Kavanaugh" on Her Arm," 18 Sep. 2018 With a scarlet scarf knotted around her neck, Goodman greeted each of her guests, whether an old friend or an eager fan, with characteristic warmth and ease. Ian Malone, Vogue, "A Vogue-heavy Crowd Came Out to Tonne Goodman’s Point of View Book Party at Bookmarc," 17 Apr. 2019 But there, winking out from the scarlet cushions of the sofa, is a persimmon pillow embroidered with a rabbit. Stellene Volandes, ELLE Decor, "Jeweler Antonia Miletto Leads a Fairy-Tale Existence in Her 16th-Century Townhouse in Venice," 17 Apr. 2019 And that trim physique shown off in houndstooth check jackets and ascots back in the 1960s has softened somewhat under a scarlet sweater vest. Alex Williams, New York Times, "Rex Reed Bangs a Gong on the Mediocrity of Modern Life," 10 Jan. 2018 Try the scarlet orange Bugs Bunnys with Tanqueray gin, fresh carrot juice, and three chile bitters, or the Manhattan served inside a hollow ice sphere that's cracked open with a spoon. Scarlett Lindeman, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Mexico City," 27 Feb. 2018 Some stars have a signature: platinum hair, a high ponytail, or maybe a scarlet red lip. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Cardi B’s Best Hair and Makeup Looks," 17 Oct. 2018 Each model dons a unique, holiday-ready beauty look, from activist Sebastian Rosemarie’s geometric eye makeup to 11-year-old drag icon Desmond’s glittery brows and scarlet red lips. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Fluide's Gorgeous, Inclusive Holiday Campaign Is Dedicated to Chosen Families Everywhere," 14 Nov. 2018 There’s an oh-so-English affect to the staffers guiding visitors from the station to the entrance, kitted out in scarlet red capes and pillbox hats like flunkies on loan from Buckingham Palace. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Chinese Tourists Are Changing the Travel Landscape," 2 Nov. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of scarlet


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scarlet


Middle English scarlat, scarlet, from Anglo-French escarlet, from Medieval Latin scarlata, from Persian saqalāt, a kind of rich cloth

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scarlet

Statistics for scarlet

Last Updated

27 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scarlet

The first known use of scarlet was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scarlet



English Language Learners Definition of scarlet

: a bright red color


scar·​let | \ ˈskär-lət How to pronounce scarlet (audio) \

Kids Definition of scarlet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bright red



Kids Definition of scarlet (Entry 2 of 2)

: colored bright red

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on scarlet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scarlet

Spanish Central: Translation of scarlet

Nglish: Translation of scarlet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scarlet for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scarlet

Comments on scarlet

What made you want to look up scarlet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!