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 Her admirers noted her ability to draw seemingly infinite nuance and shades from black ink, sometimes highlighted by a stroke of vermilion. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Toko Shinoda, Japanese artist who merged the age-old and the avant-garde, dies at 107," 4 Mar. 2021 Just then, like the placement of an ornament on the tip of a holiday tree branch, a bright-red male vermilion flycatcher fluttered down and landed not more than 10 feet in front of me. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Nature brings reassuring message after a long year," 26 Dec. 2020 The artisan touch extends to salmon lox, cured with beets for a brilliant vermilion color and endearing sweetness. Mike Sutter,, "3 new San Antonio restaurants include vegan cafe Hash, Jewish deli The Hayden and soul food drive-thru Mamma Lou’s," 10 Dec. 2020 The paintings, which measure about 28 inches tall, were reportedly painted in bright colors, including blue, green and vermilion, reports the Kyoto Shimbun. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Newly Discovered Buddhist Temple Paintings May Be Among Japan’s Oldest," 27 Oct. 2020 Eye-catching vermilion rockfish share the water with the state’s official marine fish, the orange garibaldi, which is Sun’s favorite. James T. Bartlett, Los Angeles Times, "In coronavirus lockdown, Union Station’s aquarium loses its fans but not its keepers," 6 May 2020 The flame trees blaze with vermilion flowers, and the frangipani’s fragrance is at its most intense in May, before the monsoons move in. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "‘A Lot of Bad News Out There’: Parenting in a Pandemic," 15 May 2020 On a chair constructed from four square steel-tubing frames, nylon webbing in various shades (cyan, khaki, optic white, vermilion) creates a seat with a similarly unpredictable checkered design. New York Times, "The Scottish Designer Who’s Trading in Fashion for Furniture," 13 Feb. 2020 Pervaiz delayed taking his father for medical treatment in order to put a vermilion strip on his forehead — to disguise himself as a Hindu — because rioters hunting for Muslims had blocked all the roads leading to the hospital. Time, "'Hate Is Being Preached Openly Against Us.' After Delhi Riots, Muslims in India Fear What's Next," 3 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for vermilion

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vermilion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of vermilion

: a bright orange-red color

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