noun ver·mil·ion \vər-ˈmil-yən\
variants: or less commonly


Definition of vermilion

  1. 1 :  a bright red pigment consisting of mercuric sulfide; broadly :  any of various red pigments

  2. 2 :  a vivid reddish orange

Origin and Etymology of vermilion

Middle English vermilioun, borrowed from Anglo-French vermeilloun, from vermeil “bright red, red color” (going back to Late Latin vermiculus “bright red color (obtained from kermes),” going back to Latin, “insect larva, grub,” from vermis “worm” + -culus, diminutive suffix) + -on, diminutive or particularizing suffix, going back to Latin -ō, -ōn-, suffix of persons with a prominent feature — more at 1worm

First Known Use: 13th century

Other Color Terms

VERMILION Defined for English Language Learners


noun ver·mil·ion \vər-ˈmil-yən\

Definition of vermilion for English Language Learners

  • : a bright orange-red color

Learn More about vermilion

Seen and Heard

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