ver·​mil·​ion vər-ˈmil-yən How to pronounce vermilion (audio)
variants or less commonly vermillion
: a vivid reddish orange
: a bright red pigment consisting of mercuric sulfide
broadly : any of various red pigments

Examples of vermilion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The dog is nearly vermilion at Nu-Way Weiners, a Macon, Ga., destination since 1916, where the slaw atop the chili is cold, creamy and finely chopped. J. J. Goode, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2023 The blood-red hue of a small, 1974 silkscreen version in vermilion, installed with four drawings in a side gallery, evokes engorgement and violence. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2023 Rather than just hemming the philtrum, surgeons can finesse the peaks of the Cupid’s bow or roll out the upper lip to reveal more of the red vermilion and allow a sliver of the incisors to show when the lips are slightly parted. Jolene Edgar, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 June 2023 And Elson wasn’t the only supermodel known for going vermilion. Arden Fanning Andrews, New York Times, 4 May 2023 Last year, from the vermilion sands bordering the Grand Canyon to the oil-rich scrublands east of Chaco Canyon, the Navajo Nation was hit by a perfect storm – a convergence of soaring pandemic deaths, dwindling energy revenues, and rising unemployment. Randall Hyman, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Dec. 2021 The carvings were covered up with lime plaster that had been tinted vermilion with brick dust. Hussein Omar Simon Watson, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2023 Genève bag is ready for Lunar New Year gifting with its vermilion red colorway and stamped bunny logo. Danielle Directo-Meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Jan. 2023 Inspired by the signature color of its namesake, with red- and-orange-toned ingredients, tomatoes and chili powder, for a stunning shade of vermilion. Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vermilion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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 worm entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of vermilion was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near vermilion

Cite this Entry

“Vermilion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also vermillion
: a bright reddish orange
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