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[sin-uh-bahr] /ˈsɪn əˌbɑr/
a mineral, mercuric sulfide, HgS, occurring in red crystals or masses: the principal ore of mercury.
red mercuric sulfide, used as a pigment.
bright red; vermillion.
Origin of cinnabar
1350-1400; < Latin cinnabaris < Greek kinnábari < ?; replacing Middle English cynoper < Medieval Latin, Latin as above
Related forms
[sin-uh-buh-reen, -ber-in, -bahr-ahyn, -een] /ˈsɪn ə bəˌrin, -bər ɪn, -ˌbɑr aɪn, -in/ (Show IPA),
[sin-uh-bar-ik] /ˌsɪn əˈbær ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cinnabar
  • The metal is obtained by heating cinnabar in a current of air and by condensing the vapor.
  • Mold-made, cream-slipped, ceramic with red cinnabar.
  • cinnabar is resistant to surface weathering and thus is common around these sites and in streams draining the mines.
  • cinnabar resembles quartz in its symmetry and certain of its optical characteristics.
  • cinnabar was often used in royal burial chambers during the peak of mayan civilization.
British Dictionary definitions for cinnabar


a bright red or brownish-red mineral form of mercuric sulphide (mercury(II) sulphide), found close to areas of volcanic activity and hot springs. It is the main commercial source of mercury. Formula: HgS. Crystal structure: hexagonal
the red form of mercuric sulphide (mercury(II) sulphide), esp when used as a pigment
a bright red to reddish-orange; vermilion
a large red-and-black European moth, Callimorpha jacobaeae: family Arctiidae (tiger moths, etc)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French cenobre, from Latin cinnābaris, from Greek kinnabari, of Oriental origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cinnabar

mid-15c., "red or crystalline form of mercuric sulphide," also applied to other ores of mercury, originally with reference to its use as a pigment; from Old French cinabre (13c.), from Late Latin cinnabaris, from Greek kinnabari, of oriental origin (cf. Persian zanjifrah in the same sense). Also used 14c.-17c. of red resinous juice of a certain Eastern tree, which was believed to be a mixture of dragon's and elephant's blood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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