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, kermes berry (from its use in making scarlet dye).