kermes

kermes

[kur-meez]
noun
1.
a red dye formerly prepared from the dried bodies of the females of a scale insect, Kermes ilices, which lives on small, evergreen oaks of the Mediterranean region.
2.
the oak itself, of the genus Quercus coccifera.

Origin:
1590–1600; < French kermès < Arabic qirmiz < Persian; replacing earlier chermez < Italian chermes < Arabic as above; see crimson

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kermes (ˈkɜːmɪz)
 
n
1.  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.  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]

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Encyclopedia Britannica
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kermes

a species of scale insect in the family Kermesidae (order Homoptera), the common name of which also represents the red dye that is obtained from the dried bodies of these insects. The dye was often part of the tribute paid to conquering Roman armies, and, in the Middle Ages, landlords accepted it as payment for rent. The oldest known red dyestuff, resembling but inferior in colour to cochineal, it was used by the early Egyptians

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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