ver·​mil·​ion | \ vər-ˈmil-yən How to pronounce vermilion (audio) \
variants: or less commonly vermillion

Definition of vermilion

1 : a vivid reddish orange
2 : 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

If the gap is diminished still more, as sometimes happens when vermilion is exposed to light, the pigment absorbs all visible light and turns black. The Economist, "A team of chemists are searching for a new red pigment," 11 July 2019 The creature, in question, is a vermilion sea star, Jaros told USA TODAY. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Viral photo appears to show a starfish with a big butt. An expert disagrees," 2 July 2019 Gargantuan scarf-wraps surrounded the body — and one, in vermilion, came actually attached across the bust. Washington Post, "Standing ovation at Valentino caps Paris couture week," 4 July 2018 Huge statement scarfs in vermilion and saffron added a touch of seasonal humor. Washington Post, "Chanel caps Paris with ode to fall; stars out at Vuitton," 6 Mar. 2018 At 490m above sea level, Cerro Mesa Reserve offers spectacular views of the largest crater on Santa Cruz Island, exotic plants, and seven unique subspecies of finch and the elusive vermilion flycatcher. Allie Almario, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to the Galápagos Islands," 5 Oct. 2016 The colors are what everyone remembers: magenta, as previously seen in Mexico City, plus vermilion, aqua and chrome yellow. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Lessons from LA’s 1984 Summer Olympics," 17 May 2018 At the extreme end, the vermilion snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens, had a 400-fold difference in eggs between the littlest and biggest mama fish. Ben Guarino, Anchorage Daily News, "We’re fishing exactly the wrong fish, scientists warn," 10 May 2018 Go for flashy fight choreography and a pleasingly vermilion color palette. Emma Krupp, RedEye Chicago, "Your winter movie preview: 30 reasons to go to a show," 10 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vermilion.' 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 vermilion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for 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 worm entry 1

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Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for vermilion

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

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English Language Learners Definition of vermilion

: a bright orange-red color

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