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kermes

[kur-meez] /ˈkɜr miz/
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
1590-1600; < French kermès < Arabic qirmiz < Persian; replacing earlier chermez < Italian chermes < Arabic as above; see crimson
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for kermes

kermes

/ˈkɜːmɪz/
noun
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
Word Origin
C16: from French kermès, from Arabic qirmiz, from Sanskrit krmija- red dye, literally: produced by a worm, from krmi worm + ja- produced
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for 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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