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

The visual iconography of the handmaids—women depersonalized by scarlet cloaks, rendered faceless by wraparound white bonnets—became a fixture at protests and assemblies around the world. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Challenge of Margaret Atwood," 5 Sep. 2019 In a third cave, located in the far south, curtainlike calcite formations were decorated in shades of scarlet. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Ancient Cave Paintings Clinch the Case for Neandertal Symbolism," 23 Feb. 2018 Think scarlet, peach, pink, amber, sienna, and gold versus cooler teal, eggplant, emerald, aqua, and cobalt. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Use Warm Colors in Your Home, According to Interior Designers," 25 July 2019 How many Instagram photos feature a whitewashed stone wall with bunches of scarlet tomatoes pulled from the ground, plant and all, and hung upside down, or cherry tomatoes carefully threaded and hung as garlands? Evan Kleiman,, "Sun-dried tomatoes, the Mickey Rourke of food, get their second act," 10 July 2019 About 1,400 soldiers in ceremonial scarlet coats and bearskin hats marched past the queen in a ceremony on Horse Guards Parade in Westminster. Washington Post, "Pomp, parade marks Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday," 8 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But the ensemble felt somehow off: the fit a bit too snug, the grey too light to work with her scarlet hair. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Let’s Talk About the Clothes on “Succession”," 6 Sep. 2019 The central open space, called the Garnet Way, is a grassy promenade lined with scarlet oaks and provides a route for the marching band, cheerleaders and football team to parade through the venue on the way to the stadium. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Alabama football fans: Things to do in Columbia if you’re catching the South Carolina game," 13 Sep. 2019 Every afternoon, semidomesticated scarlet macaws would fly out of the jungle and perch on the town's rooftops, amazing the Spanish occupiers. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "In search of the ‘white Jaguar’: Archaeologists travel deep into the jungle to find a lost Maya city," 5 Sep. 2019 Guests fêted the collections with Louboutin, taking turns to snap photos in the picturesque surroundings lavished with decor in the designer’s signature scarlet hue. Vogue, "Christian Louboutin Debuts Two New Collections with a Couture Week Cocktail Party," 3 July 2019 More faithfully, Pierpaolo Piccioli drew gasps for his gowns at Valentino, many in the brand’s signature scarlet color. Rory Satran, WSJ, "Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends," 5 Oct. 2018 The oranges are fragrant, delicious, fun to use — and of course, given their scarlet color, downright gorgeous., "Dining at the Grove, drinking in the mountains," 24 Feb. 2018 There was a whirlwind of court dates, a scrambling to pay legal bills and a scarlet mark left on the seemingly successful family. Madeline Buckley,, "11-year-old ‘Yummy’ Sandifer was on the run for killing a teenage girl. Then he was killed by his own gang in a Chicago story that shocked the nation 25 years ago.," 29 Aug. 2019 The sneakers come with a gray base with black accents and scarlet flywire, laces and swoosh., "How much would you pay for these Ohio State-themed running shoes by Nike?," 27 Aug. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for scarlet

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for scarlet

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

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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

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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

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a bell tower

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