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 vermilion rockfish is recognizable by its vivid red color, but others are brown, blue, gray. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2024 As previously reported, past analyses of Rembrandt's paintings identified many pigments the Dutch master used in his work, including lead white, multiple ochres, bone black, vermilion, madder lake, azurite, ultramarine, yellow lake, and lead-tin yellow, among others. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 15 Dec. 2023 In this video narrated by NOAA research scientist Avery Paxton, sand tiger sharks hover above the wreck of the E.M. Clark off North Carolina, with vermilion snapper schooling nearby. Avery Paxton, Discover Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 During a hike in the Ramona Grasslands, the flaming red of a vermilion flycatcher flashed as the bird moved from one tree to another. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Dec. 2023 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 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 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also vermillion
: a bright reddish orange
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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