Definition of vermilion in English:



mass noun
  • 1A brilliant red pigment made from mercury sulphide (cinnabar).

    • ‘The two paint boxes were found to contain Prussian blue, chrome yellow, vermilion (a red mercury sulfide pigment), and red earth.’
    • ‘Keune and supervisor Jaap Boon investigated the red pigment vermilion from the Rubens painting.’
    • ‘Raman spectroscopy is used to identify certain pigments, such as vermilion and red lead, that are not detectable with FTIR.’
    • ‘For millennia, the vivid orange-red pigment called vermillion has decorated pottery and preserved royal bones.’
    • ‘At the center, a glass object drenched in a pool of vermilion and gold recalls Harold Edgerton's famous ‘Milk Drop’ stroboscopic images.’
    • ‘Blood may be seen running down the crucifix, while tiny specks of vermilion represent drops of blood on Christ's foot and loincloth.’
    • ‘The surface of the water was dyed with vermilion.’
    • ‘If you are near the dye vermilion, you will be stained red, if you are close to black ink, you will be stained black.’
    • ‘He mixes and grinds his own pigments, preferring rich, heavy metal colours such as cobalt blue and the cadmiums - red, violet, vermilion and yellow.’
    • ‘Forensic tests on the red stuff have identified it as red ocher and vermilion tempera paint.’
    • ‘His face and the exposed body limbs are also painted with vermilion.’
    • ‘Under a banyan tree are a cluster of stones streaked with vermillion and considered the dwelling place of the snake god.’
    1. 1.1A brilliant red colour.
      ‘a lateral stripe of vermilion’
      as modifier ‘vermilion streaks of sunset’
      • ‘The sun was tediously ebbing into the horizon, staining the otherwise violet sky with brilliant streaks of orange and vermilion.’
      • ‘Among the plants that have lovely vermillion hues to go with this season are the dwarf coral tree and the African flame tree.’
      • ‘Rich hues of madder red, vermilion, saffron, and black are used in myriad combinations of stripes and checks.’
      • ‘Fauvist dashes of vermilion, viridian, brown and black against a white ground form a skeletal stick figure with a ram's head.’
      • ‘The artist will contrast vermilion, fuchsia and a yellow, and the painting will feel strangely crepuscular.’
      • ‘Another sharp-toothed, horned demon - this one vermilion - appears in Area 213.’
      • ‘Between and behind them background tones show through - algae green, glowing vermilion.’
      • ‘The peachy tones at its top deepen to a comforting, enveloping vermilion.’
      • ‘Who is the elegant maiden dressed in silk with a vermilion inner-robe patterned with golden butterflies?’
      • ‘The vermilion bloom stands regally, like a blessing cardinal.’
      • ‘Copper and cadmium yellow and rust and persimmon and vermillion - what a swoon of color.’
      • ‘The figure is propped up by a ‘curtain’ in deep vermilion, decorated and vitalised by clusters of white leaves economically painted.’
      • ‘Zeiss calls these ‘Gradal’ and you can get them in yellow, vermillion, polarized and international target orange in addition to clear.’
      • ‘Vicki's face must have flushed vermillion as she stammered, ‘Uh, er, n-no.’’
      • ‘Browning's Polarlight shooting glasses come with interchangeable lenses in vermillion, gray and polarized sandstone.’
      • ‘In fact, principle songwriter John Davis leads off the album with the lines, ‘She is one in a billion / With lips of vermilion.’’
      • ‘His laughter eventually subsided into amused chuckles, which flushed vermillion into her cheeks.’
      • ‘That vermillion against the pale blue of the sky silenced the band, a strange, dead calm sweeping across the grass in a breeze.’
      • ‘I watched as his father's face turned an ugly shade of vermillion.’
      • ‘Marzipan still wore the light vermillion dress she had worn to the day's gathering and was absent-mindedly picking at the satin material.’
      scarlet, vermilion, ruby, ruby red, ruby-coloured, cherry, cherry red, cerise, cardinal, carmine, wine, wine red, wine-coloured, claret, claret red, claret-coloured, blood red


Middle English from Old French vermeillon, from vermeil, from Latin vermiculus, diminutive of vermis ‘worm’.