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A red dyestuff once prepared from the dried bodies of various female scale insects of the genus Kermes.
[French kermès, short for alkermès, from Arabic al-qirmiz, the kermes, probably from Sanskrit kṛmi-ja-, (red dye) produced by worms; see kwr̥mi- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. (Dyeing) the dried bodies of female scale insects of the genus Kermes, esp K. ilices of Europe and W Asia, used as a red dyestuff
2. (Plants) a small evergreen Eurasian oak tree, Quercus coccifera, with prickly leaves resembling holly: the host plant of kermes scale insects
[C16: from French kermès, from Arabic qirmiz, from Sanskrit krmija- red dye, literally: produced by a worm, from krmi worm + ja- produced]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
a red dye formerly prepared from the dried bodies of the females of a scale insect, Kermes ilices.
[1600–10; < French kermès < Arabic qirmiz < Persian; compare crimson]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.