a red dye made from the dried bodies of female cochineal insects: used, esp. formerly, in coloring foods, cosmetics, etc.
Origin of cochinealFrench cochenille, probably from Classical Latin coccinus, scarlet-colored from coccum, a berry, scarlet: see coccus
- A red colorant, whose primary constituent is carminic acid, that is made of the dried and pulverized bodies of female cochineal insects and is used to color food and cosmetics.
- A vivid red.
Origin of cochinealFrench cochenille from Spanish cochinilla cochineal insect probably from Vulgar Latin coccinella from feminine diminutive of Latin coccinus scarlet from Greek kokkinos from kokkos seed, grain, dried female kermes insect (used in making scarlet dye) of unknown origin