scar·​let | \ ˈskär-lət \

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

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 Most of the book consists of acetate squares, each of which seems to imprison a different autumn leaf: the scarlet of maple; the neon-yellow of cottonwood; the green of birch and eucalyptus. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Board Books That Aren’t Boring," 1 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 That would point to an undiscovered settlement out there somewhere, breeding scarlet macaws in the centuries before Paquimé was established. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "DNA reveals ancient parrot breeder supplied US Southwest peoples," 15 Aug. 2018 Prince William pulled a quick change, too: William set aside his scarlet colonel uniform in favor of a dapper black tuxedo. Brittany Talarico,, "All About Meghan Markle's Sexy Second Wedding Dress for the Evening Reception," 19 May 2018 Nearby was a line of padded folding chairs, the scarlet seats emblazoned with a fully uniformed Confederate soldier, poised for battle. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Lee High School’s mountain of memories to be auctioned," 11 July 2018 Who needs red, white, and blue when Rihanna's take on scarlet shadow (Saffron, from her new Moroccan Spice palette for Fenty Beauty) is this stunning? Karina Hoshikawa, Teen Vogue, "Best Fourth of July 2018 Celebrity Beauty Instagrams," 5 July 2018 To her right, Mirlande Jean-Baptiste, from Haiti, wears a wildly floral dress, scarlet lipstick, and dangling earrings. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "As Americans celebrate Independence Day, what does it mean to be a patriot?," 2 July 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.

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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

7 Jan 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 \

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

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 deny responsibility for

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