Cochineal
Cochineal Coch"i*neal (k[o^]ch"[i^]*n[=e]l; 277), [Sp. cochinilla, dim. from L. coccineus, coccinus, scarlet, fr. coccum the kermes berry, G. ko`kkos berry, especially the kermes insect, used to dye scarlet, as the cochineal was formerly supposed to be the grain or seed of a plant, and this word was formerly defined to be the grain of the {Quercus coccifera}; but cf. also Sp. cochinilla wood louse, dim. of cochina sow, akin to F. cochon pig.] A dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of females of the {Coccus cacti}, an insect native in Mexico, Central America, etc., and found on several species of cactus, esp. {Opuntia cochinellifera}. [1913 Webster]

Note: These insects are gathered from the plant, killed by the application of heat, and exposed to the sun to dry. When dried they resemble small, rough berries or seeds, of a brown or purple color, and form the cochineal of the shops, which is used for making carmine, and also as a red dye. [1913 Webster]

Note: Cochineal contains as its essential coloring matter carminic acid, a purple red amorphous substance which yields carmine red. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cochineal — Female (left) and male (right) Cochineals. Scientific classification Domain: Eukaryota …   Wikipedia

  • cochineal — 1580s, from Fr. cochenille (16c.), perhaps from It. cocciniglia or directly from Mod.L. coccinum scarlet robe, coccineus scarlet colored, from coccum scarlet, lit. grain, berry. Coccum is cognate with Gk. kokkos, which had the same senses. Some… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cochineal — [käch′ə nēl΄, käch΄ə nēl′] n. [Fr cochenille, prob. < L coccinus, scarlet colored < coccum, a berry, scarlet: see COCCUS] a red dye made from the dried bodies of female cochineal insects: used, esp. formerly, in coloring foods, cosmetics,… …   English World dictionary

  • cochineal — ► NOUN ▪ a scarlet dye used for colouring food, made from the crushed dried bodies of a female scale insect. ORIGIN French cochenille or Spanish cochinilla, from Latin coccinus scarlet …   English terms dictionary

  • cochineal — /koch euh neel , koh cheuh , koch euh neel , koh cheuh /, n. a red dye prepared from the dried bodies of the females of the cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus, which lives on cactuses of Mexico, Central America, and other warm regions. [1575… …   Universalium

  • cochineal — noun Etymology: Middle French & Spanish; Middle French cochenille, from Old Spanish cochinilla cochineal insect Date: 1582 1. a red dye consisting of the dried bodies of female cochineal insects 2. cochineal insect …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cochineal — [16] Cochineal ‘red dye’ comes via French cochenille from Old Spanish cochinilla, a term applied both to the dye and to the small insect related to the mealybugs, from whose dried body it is made. It is generally thought to be a derivative of… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • cochineal — [ˌkɒtʃɪ ni:l, kɒtʃɪni:l] noun 1》 a scarlet dye used for colouring food, made from the crushed dried bodies of a female scale insect. 2》 (cochineal insect) the scale insect that is used for cochineal, native to Mexico and formerly widely… …   English new terms dictionary

  • cochineal — [16] Cochineal ‘red dye’ comes via French cochenille from Old Spanish cochinilla, a term applied both to the dye and to the small insect related to the mealybugs, from whose dried body it is made. It is generally thought to be a derivative of… …   Word origins

  • cochineal — n. [Gr. kokkinos, scarlet] (ARTHROPODA: Insecta) A crimson dye commercially extracted from the dried bodies of the homopterous insect Dactylopius coccus (cochineal scale) cultivated in South America, Mexico and the Canary Islands; see quinone… …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

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