cochineal

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 sources trace the French word to Sp. cochinilla "wood louse" (a dim. form related to Fr. cochon "pig"). The crushed insect dye was once wrongly supposed to be from the grain or berry of a plant. The insect lives on plants in Mexico and Central America. Aztecs and other Mexican Indians used it as a dyestuff; it first is mentioned in Europe in 1523 in Spanish correspondence to Hernán Cortés in Mexico. Specimens were brought to Spain in the 1520s, and cloth merchants in Antwerp were buying cochineal in insect and powdered form in Spain by the 1540s. Replaced the kermes insect as a source of red dye in Europe. So important was this source of scarlet dye that derivatives of the name for it have displaced the original word for "red" in many languages, e.g. Welsh coch, Mod.Gk. kokkinos. Cf. also CRIMSON (Cf. crimson), VERMILION (Cf. vermilion).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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

  • 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.