Definition of red in English:



  • 1Of a colour at the end of the spectrum next to orange and opposite violet, as of blood, fire, or rubies.

    ‘her red lips’
    ‘the sky was turning red outside’
    • ‘She was a blond with a sparkling pair of rare violet eyes and pouty red lips.’
    • ‘Dark red blood spilled from her arm and gathered in a pool on the ground.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth slightly trying to say something, but he only coughed out more dark red blood.’
    • ‘Her verdict was a delicious avocado and an interesting salad, including red cabbage with fresh orange and rice with caraway seeds.’
    • ‘When we came back, we could just see a great cloud of smoke and in the evening the red glow of fire still burning.’
    • ‘A dark red patch of blood marked the spot where the first intruder had fallen.’
    • ‘She just loves the dramatic ruby red colour and the fresh raspberry taste.’
    • ‘She had dark red lipstick across her lips and her eyelashes looked longer and she bat them often.’
    • ‘Her ruby red lips were grinning slyly as she placed her arms around her lover's neck.’
    • ‘The dark red blood forms a glaring contrast to the sickly green of the flesh.’
    • ‘Her face was pale and her lips were large and carefully lined with a dark red lip liner.’
    • ‘The wallet was dark red cord and the diary green and blue in colour.’
    • ‘She walked up to a mirror and painted the creamy dark red lipstick over her lips.’
    • ‘Eyewitnesses saw two men on a red motorcycle open fire with automatic weapons outside a cafe and then speed away.’
    • ‘She gave him a slight peck on the cheek, her ruby red lips leaving the smallest of imprints.’
    • ‘There was dark red blood dribbling down his chin, contrasting starkly with the rest of his blanched white face.’
    • ‘Men with splendid handlebar moustaches sport glorious orange or red turbans.’
    • ‘He'd stood up and his back was to her, his dirty blond hair was matted with dark red blood.’
    • ‘Dark red blood was running down the furry arm, and the hunter advanced again.’
    scarlet, vermilion, ruby, ruby-red, ruby-coloured, cherry, cherry-red, cerise, cardinal, carmine, wine, wine-red, wine-coloured, claret, claret-red, claret-coloured, blood-red
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    1. 1.1(of a person or their face) flushed or rosy, especially with embarrassment, anger, or heat.
      ‘there were some red faces in headquarters’
      ‘he went bright red’
      • ‘Her face was red and she grimaced more from the pain than the bitter cold.’
      • ‘I knew by the time his eyes reached my chest area my face was embarrassingly red.’
      • ‘The inhibitions disappear and the red face is a result of happy exertion rather than excruciating bashfulness.’
      • ‘His face was very red, but Pegasus couldn't tell if it was anger or embarrassment.’
      • ‘Many people's faces in the audience were red and sweaty because of the heat.’
      • ‘His face was red with anger, and he looked rather like a handsome tomato.’
      • ‘The man yelled in her face, spit was falling everywhere and the man's face was red with anger.’
      • ‘My ankles often collapsed underneath me, leaving me with grazed hands and ankles and a red face.’
      • ‘His face was still red, he could feel his cheeks burning with the embarrassment.’
      • ‘He let go of her hand and hugged me hard, burying his red face in my neck.’
      • ‘The red faces say it all, they're exhausted but glad to have made it.’
      • ‘She was red in the face, partly from embarrassment and partly from being rushed off her feet - the inn was unusually busy.’
      • ‘His body was shaking and his own face was red in anger and shame.’
      • ‘But I pull myself together, puffy red face and all, and go back to the station to fix my mistake.’
      • ‘Her face was red with anger and her eyes were still wet as tears flowed freely down her cheeks.’
      • ‘Nicole's face was red with heat and she and I leaned on one another to get to the downstairs group room.’
      • ‘She was panting hard and her face was really red, like she was embarrassed to be late.’
      • ‘It reassured me that everything was okay between us but I was still red with embarrassment.’
      • ‘Oshino's face was red with anger and embarrassment and he stormed off angrily.’
      • ‘The man's face was red from anger and he was about to carry on his yelling fit, but Ali began a coughing fit.’
      flushed, reddish, pink, pinkish, florid, high-coloured, rubicund, roseate
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    2. 1.2(of a person's eyes) bloodshot or having pink rims, especially with tiredness or crying.
      ‘her eyes were red and swollen’
      • ‘His eyes were red and there were circles underneath them when at last he woke, very early in the morning.’
      • ‘Her mother's wide brown eyes were red and puffy and an ugly black bruise was swelling on her cheek.’
      • ‘I opened my eyes and saw that her eyes were still red and wet, but she looked absolutely beautiful.’
      • ‘When Sara finally lifted her head, her eyes were red and tear-stained.’
      • ‘Her eyes were red and swollen, something I hadn't noticed earlier because of the way her hair shielded her face.’
      • ‘His eyes were red and swollen and he looked taller and older than she remembered.’
      • ‘Her eyes were red and puffy, her cheeks pink, her hair a mess, actually she in general was a mess.’
      • ‘She looked at me, sitting in my desk frozen, and her eyes were red and teary.’
      • ‘She raised her head to look at him, her eyes were red, puffy, and filled with fear.’
      • ‘Her eyes were red and puffy from all the crying she had done all night.’
      • ‘My eyes were red and stinging by the time my crying spell passed, and Julius was asking for a walk.’
      • ‘Her eyes were still red and swollen, though she still had a brightening smile over her face.’
      • ‘Jasmine, whose eyes were red and puffy and bloodshot, stood up, wiping her nose with the tissue in her hand.’
      • ‘His eyes were red, but his behavior was perfectly normal, as though it were just an ordinary day.’
      • ‘My eyes were red and I was holding a scrunched up tissue in my hand.’
      • ‘She was still trying to hide her face, for her eyes were red and swollen from all the crying.’
      • ‘My eyes were red and puffy and my eyelashes were stuck together by my tears.’
      • ‘His eyes were red and bloodshot and he looked worn and tattered with emotion.’
      • ‘I wept every night, sometimes so long, that in the morning, my eyes were still red.’
      • ‘Rosalie had her hair was in a long single messy braid, and her eyes were red and bloodshot.’
      bloodshot, red-rimmed, inflamed
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    3. 1.3(of hair or fur) of a reddish-brown or orange-brown colour.
      ‘her long, red hair’
      ‘his hair was red’
      • ‘She had wild, flaming red hair that went down to her shoulders, and her eyes were almost a fiery purple.’
      • ‘A tall punk with flaming red hair had his arm slung tightly around her waist in a possessive manner.’
      • ‘Coral, her red hair tied back in a pony tail, came through the door with Nat by her side.’
      • ‘There in front of her stood a large man with flaming red hair and large pale green eyes.’
      • ‘She was a short, plump woman with flaming red hair that cascaded down her back.’
      • ‘I looked at his red hair and his muscular, hairy legs and decided I wasn't attracted to him.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the color of my face was only intensified by my flame red hair.’
      • ‘Up close he could see she was quite pretty with flaming red hair and reddish brown eyes.’
      • ‘She was born after a quick labor and has a coating of bright red hair on her little head.’
      • ‘She was last seen with bright red hair, but has been blonde in the past and could have dyed her hair a dark colour.’
      • ‘His flame red hair was unruly, but his attempts to check that unruliness were evident.’
      • ‘She has gorgeous long, red hair that I love to run my fingers through.’
      • ‘She spotted a woman with flaming red hair walking slightly in front of her.’
      • ‘Rusty whipped around, and his red hair curled around his head like a wet mop.’
      • ‘She was braiding my long, red hair just the way I like it and we were talking.’
      • ‘She reached down and tenderly pushed a few strands of dirty rusty red hair out of Tom's eyes.’
      • ‘She looked to be in total bliss as her flaming red hair blew in the wind.’
      • ‘Mark is described as white, six-feet one inch tall, of a slim build, with short wavy red hair.’
      • ‘She was a skinny girl with flame red hair and a million freckles.’
      • ‘I had bright red hair as a child, but it has progressively darkened to its current brown.’
      reddish, flaming red, flame-coloured, auburn, titian, chestnut, carroty, ginger, sandy, foxy
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    4. 1.4offensive, dated (of a people) having reddish skin.
    5. 1.5Of or denoting the suits hearts and diamonds in a pack of cards.
      ‘a red queen’
      • ‘Bonuses for red threes, canastas and so on cannot be counted towards meeting the minimum.’
      • ‘Each card is from a red suit but we do not know this: each of us sees only the suit of his own card.’
      • ‘If you do not have the necessary sambas or canastas to end the game, for every melded red three you receive 100 penalty points.’
      • ‘Only three cards are needed, two from a black suit, and one from a red suit.’
      • ‘By agreement, if the card turned up to start the discard pile happens to be a wild card or a red three, it may be put back into the stock pile and another card turned up.’
      • ‘If the card is red, the next player to the left turns over their card.’
      • ‘As the rules stand both red and even numbered cards are being eliminated.’
    6. 1.6(of wine) made from dark grapes and coloured by their skins.
      ‘a glass of red wine’
      • ‘To make a red wine, a vintner will let the juice of the grapes mix with the skins.’
      • ‘The principal grape used in the red wines of this region is Syrah.’
      • ‘For a long time red wine has been touted for its healthy effects on the heart.’
      • ‘Add the red wine, allow to bubble for a few minutes, stirring.’
      • ‘I seldom drink spirits, but I like a glass of red wine, sometimes a beer.’
      • ‘How cool you serve red wines on hot days is a question of taste.’
      • ‘These three grape varieties produce red wines which go lighter with age.’
      • ‘Where once Burgundy had the field to itself, other parts of the world are now making some gorgeous red wines from Pinot Noir.’
      • ‘One night early on, while we sat drinking red wine on the balcony off our room, a man in the adjoining room came out on his balcony too.’
      • ‘Yield of their red wine is down, but that's due to their replanting programme.’
      • ‘As well as being the source of red Burgundy wines, it is also a backbone of Champagne blends.’
      • ‘I enjoy red wine but as the only drinker in the house, I find that one bottle lasts too long.’
      • ‘The name also has been used generically in some countries to refer to a blended red wine.’
      • ‘Would I pour my water into my white wine glass, red wine into my port glass or the whole lot over the tablecloth?’
      • ‘Use patience, a very sharp carving knife, and lots of red wine for your guests.’
      • ‘They had come armed with plenty of local red wine and soon it was flowing fast.’
      • ‘The red wines, which are always my favourite tipple, are outstanding.’
      • ‘The best wine vinegar may be made from either white or red wine, the latter having an agreeable mellow taste.’
      • ‘It is home to very luscious and exotic red wines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon.’
      • ‘Thirty minutes in a normal refrigerator for your red wines is all that is usually required on warm days.’
    7. 1.7Denoting a red light or flag used as a signal to stop.
      • ‘And in the centre of this ominous landscape is a street crossing with red traffic signals.’
      • ‘But drivers also fail to stop at red signals because they have misread a signal, or chosen to disregard it.’
      • ‘Cameras were installed but seem to do little except consistently fail to identify speeding motorists who disregard the red signal.’
      • ‘A red signal stops action, and green alerts the player that the coach needs his or her attention.’
      • ‘There are several examples of drivers passing red signals simply because in their experience they expect it to be green.’
      • ‘We sit watching the glow of the red signal for what seems an eternity.’
      • ‘This system automatically stops the train if it passes through a red signal.’
      • ‘You don't stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car.’
      • ‘The train ahead is protected by a red signal, which will not change if the following train goes too fast.’
      • ‘If you can't even get people to stop at a red traffic light, then what's the point?’
      • ‘In Beijing, some traffic lights offer a countdown clock for both green and red signals.’
      • ‘The driver around whom the dispute is centred was demoted after passing four red signals.’
      • ‘The strike was to defend a driver who was demoted after passing red signals.’
      • ‘When the vehicles stopped at red traffic lights the ambulanceman got out of his car and approached the van, along with another driver.’
      • ‘He grabbed red danger flags and special detonators, used to stop trains, and ran into the path of the train.’
      • ‘Even they will stop at red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.’
      • ‘Finally, the red traffic light means stop, even if your car is expensive or has the word ‘taxi’ on the roof.’
      • ‘Buses maybe given a separate phase to travel through the intersection, while all other traffic is held on a red signal.’
      • ‘At traffic lights the rule is very simple: when the light is red you have to stop and when it's green you go.’
      • ‘The effect of reducing the number of trains running red signals is clear.’
    8. 1.8Used to denote something forbidden, dangerous, or urgent.
      ‘the force went on red alert’
      • ‘The bridge is bathed in red light as a red alert siren wails in the background.’
      • ‘Police have been put on red alert in other parts of India, including in Gujarat and in the capital New Delhi.’
      • ‘He revealed that an email had been circulated amongst GPs by the primary care trust, informing them that a red alert had been posted.’
      • ‘I received a panic e-mail from my husband last week, marked red alert, after he made a phone call to our credit card company.’
      • ‘Killarney is this week on a public health red alert following confirmation of two new cases of meningitis in the town.’
      • ‘She looked over at the wall to see that the red lights that usually flash when the red alert rings off were not on.’
      • ‘They are believed to be the work of terrorists and the usual agencies are put on red alert for an attack.’
      • ‘Britain's countryside was placed on red alert yesterday as both city and rural dwellers were told to keep away from farmland.’
      • ‘Morecambe Bay Hospitals have been put on red alert and operations have been cancelled for the second time this month.’
      • ‘Hospital bosses said a continuation of the problems that triggered the first six-day red alert led to its renewal again on Tuesday.’
      • ‘Farmers in North Yorkshire were on red alert today after the first case of foot and mouth was confirmed within the county.’
      • ‘A First Bus spokesman said services are still on red alert and will be cut if the trouble continues.’
      • ‘The Met Office has put highways departments in the region on red alert - the highest warning in its traffic light system of alerts.’
      • ‘A fifth of Essex's roads have been given a red alert and are in urgent need of repair.’
      • ‘The hospital has been put on red alert several times in the past few weeks, as winter ills make their presence felt.’
      • ‘Police in Ramsbottom put fitness fans on red alert today after a jogger in a neighbouring district was attacked.’
      • ‘Under red alert, police personnel would not be permitted to take leave or go out of the city.’
      • ‘A senior Government vet says North Yorkshire should be on red alert to prevent an explosion of foot and mouth in the pig farming community.’
      • ‘All the sudden, the red alert sounded and all the girls stopped playing cards in response.’
      • ‘They may fall and be injured as a result, and by pressing the red button, urgent assistance is on hand in a very short time.’
    9. 1.9(of a ski run) of the second-highest level of difficulty, as indicated by red markers positioned along it.
    10. 1.10Physics Denoting one of three colours of quark.
  • 2informal, derogatory Communist or socialist (used especially during the Cold War with reference to the Soviet Union)

    ‘the era of nuclear anxiety, the red scare and covert CIA plots’
  • 3literary, archaic Involving bloodshed or violence.

    ‘red battle stamps his foot and nations feel the shock’
  • 4South African (of a Xhosa) coming from a traditional tribal culture.

    ‘a red Xhosa wife spends several years in her mother-in-law's homestead’
    Contrasted with school


  • 1[mass noun] Red colour or pigment.

    ‘their work is marked in red by the teacher’
    • ‘Brickfind Ltd sells reclaimed bricks in red, yellow and soft grey.’
    • ‘The three main colours of berry are red, orange and yellow.’
    • ‘The links to the useful posts were formerly in the area outlined in red.’
    • ‘The impressive hall and stairway are decorated in red and yellow with an attractive black and white tiled floor.’
    • ‘A Vote Labour leaflet in red and yellow is pinned to an upper window of his bungalow.’
    • ‘Bright green eyes lined in red blinked up at me and my stomach dropped as I pulled my baby stepbrother into a hug.’
    • ‘The lighting in red, blue and warm yellow set the mood according to the emotion depicted.’
    • ‘I started with obnoxious colours, brown and red mainly, and worked from there.’
    • ‘The restaurant creates varied kinds of curries in red, yellow, green, black and white.’
    • ‘All club supporters are asked to turn out and support these young boys in red.’
    • ‘There are earrings with precious stones in red, green and blue at another stall.’
    • ‘His blue eyes were rimmed in red, and large brown circles cried underneath them.’
    • ‘In the image, however, the shortest wavelengths are represented as blue, while the longest are coloured in red.’
    • ‘After a week or so, they turn from the colours of capsicums - green, yellow or red - to the brown that we recognise.’
    • ‘Acidic conserved amino acids are shown in yellow and basic in red.’
    • ‘Delhi is a city of magnificence and desolation, grandeur and history, all seeped in red and purple.’
    • ‘In addition to the usual acts of remembrance, London was illuminated in red from Thursday through to Sunday.’
    • ‘Come here at sunset, when the colours flame in red and orange, bold and beautiful.’
    • ‘Presumably this is to encourage us to stop ignoring any bill not coloured in red.’
    • ‘As the name implies, most of the Bar Rouge is decorated in red to create a striking visual effect.’
    1. 1.1Red clothes or material.
      ‘she could not wear red’
      • ‘I leaned down from my saddle and snatched a shield from a corpse wearing red.’
      • ‘If we did go out, we were not to wear red, smile, let it be known that we were Jewish, or eat in public.’
      • ‘Tomorrow somebody may say that I shouldn't wear khaki to work and should only wear red.’
      • ‘Cardinals wear red, and other ranks are noted by their style of dress and rings.’
      • ‘To note one example, when a mother comes to understand her son better near the end of the film, she is wearing red.’
      • ‘It is hard to get away from the fact that she has worn red on most episodes.’
      • ‘To make a really great photo, they need lots of people to come along, wearing as much red as possible.’
      • ‘Ah, that we could all wear red so well and with no thought to clashing with our surroundings.’
      • ‘His own transport is a Hummer and, at his £100,000 wedding staged in a Welsh castle, he wore red.’
      • ‘In front of the church police were questioning some young men wearing red.’
      • ‘The groom wore red and the bride looked elegant in an old-fashioned riding habit.’
      • ‘The voice belonged to a young woman dressed in bright red, a white scarf around her head, a bowl of water in her hands.’
      • ‘Oprah wore red, but everyone else was in white-tie formal for her big bash over the weekend.’
      • ‘The club always wore red and white but black has now replaced the white.’
      • ‘You could always tell who was from where because we wore blue and they wore red.’
      • ‘The bride will wear red to maintain the festive spirit and regulars will share a full turkey dinner followed by mince pies and Christmas pud.’
      • ‘The colour blue was chosen to distinguish the police from the British military, who then wore red and white.’
      • ‘We did primary colours, we did school-kid uniforms, we did St. Valentine's and all wore red.’
      • ‘Their daughter, Molly, wore a white dress and all her bridesmaids wore red.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's because I was wearing bright red on a cold, grim rainy day.’
  • 2A red thing, in particular.

    • ‘Penedes in the north east led the planting of French grape varieties and now makes dry white wine and well-flavoured reds with these and traditional grapes.’
    • ‘A sunny, dry season had growers excited for that year's reds.’
    • ‘It is an honest, everyday red with a nice, clean finish.’
    • ‘A litre of house red has made my memories fuzzy but I'm sure the meal was lovely.’
    • ‘In most frames the reds were scattered round the table in the course of disjointed play and long bouts of safety.’
    • ‘There is usually some producer somewhere in the world deliberately fashioning light reds in this style to be consumed chilled.’
    • ‘I tried all the house reds.’
    • ‘Mendoza is the most important region, particularly for reds.’
    • ‘This appellation is undergoing much-needed revival but old vintages suggest that the potential for long-lived, concentrated reds is there.’
    • ‘However, several missed reds proved vital in the next two frames and O'Sullivan recorded his first win of this year's £205,000 event.’
    • ‘Concentrated, full, rich and velvety, this nicely structured, complex red has cherry, cloves, vanilla, pepper and aniseed in abundance.’
    • ‘The making of a merlot Duckhorn continues string of impressive reds.’
    • ‘They were "caning reds" according to the fishermen, because they could get their bait to the bottom.’
    • ‘If you ask me, it should be an automatic red.’
    • ‘A more recent recruit to my list of reds for this time of year, South African Shiraz, came as a huge surprise.’
    • ‘"They have this decent Spanish red for only 70 kuai a bottle," I called out from the living room.’
    1. 2.1A red wine.
      ‘good Italian reds at affordable prices’
      [mass noun] ‘a bottle of red’
      • ‘Wine by the glass business is strong, too, he reports, and the bar offers eight white wines and seven reds.’
      • ‘As U.S. wine sales grow, reds have overtaken whites.’
      • ‘Some people regard white wines as something to rinse the palate with before they move on to some reds, but these two wines are worth a few minutes' pause.’
      • ‘Delicate reds, such as wines from France's Beaujolais and Chinon appellations, can often fulfil the role of a white wine, and vice versa.’
      • ‘The lighter, almost earthy reds can be good here, too, if the wine producer has aimed for concentration.’
      • ‘There is a limited wine list, from which I only tried the house wines, both the red and the white were excellent and not expensive.’
      • ‘It favours a cool, climate but ripens earlier than other reds such as Cabernet.’
      • ‘Beaujolais is the perfect wine for people who like the soft fruity reds.’
      • ‘You don't have to stick with sweet wines, some dry reds can make suitable chocolate partners as well.’
      • ‘Acidity is more of a taste factor in white wines than in reds.’
      • ‘If I ventured from the reds, Chardonnays replaced the lighter, less fulfilling whites.’
      • ‘The minute the mercury soars, red wines, especially big reds, start to turn volatile and taste soupy and mawkish.’
      • ‘Tartaric acid is what gives balance to sugars in white wines and tannins in reds.’
      • ‘All the great white wines are made from Chardonnay, all the great reds from Pinot Noir.’
      • ‘We tasted a wide range of wines, from a sparkler to whites to reds to a very nice little semisparkler for dessert.’
      • ‘And the thick bottle and handsome label make it an excellent gift wine for a lover of big reds.’
      • ‘It goes without saying that Bordeaux is better known for reds but this wine certainly doesn't let the side down.’
      • ‘Screwcaps are ok for young, zippy whites and reds, but are they right for fine wines?’
      • ‘Steer clear of excessively tannic reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignons.’
      • ‘And what Sauvignon Blanc does for white wines, Cabernet Sauvignon can do for reds.’
    2. 2.2A red ball in snooker or billiards.
      • ‘He was once known to have conceded a frame with 13 reds on the table.’
      • ‘Stevens looks to be heading to level the match, but his 45 break falters when he misses a red.’
      • ‘The 2002 British Open champion sank 14 reds before missing the penultimate black in the final frame of the day.’
      • ‘In this instance, that meant the pink had to be returned to the centre of a group of reds with just enough room to fit the ball in the middle.’
      • ‘The world number one played a simple safety shot to leave the white ball on the bottom cushion and Doherty played the ball deadweight into the pack of reds.’
      • ‘However, several missed reds proved vital in the next two frames and O'Sullivan recorded his first win of this year's £205,000 event.’
      • ‘Another highly tactical frame, and the longest in the match so far, as Williams and Doherty reach just 36 points between them with 11 reds potted.’
      • ‘Wood gained four points from a snooker on the last red which left him ideally positioned for a clearance.’
      • ‘The reds are open though, so whoever pots first will be in pole position.’
      • ‘Williams cleared up to win the first after King had missed a simple red into the bottom corner.’
      • ‘Even after clambering on the table, he could not get a good enough shot at the three reds clustered near the cushion.’
      • ‘Henry takes full advantage with the reds well split, and boosts his confidence with a stylish break of 89 to win the opening frame.’
      • ‘Doherty opened the scoring with a break of 44 but, bridging awkwardly, missed a red to a middle pocket.’
      • ‘Williams scored first, but it was Hunter who made the frame and championship winning contribution as he cleared a sizeable cluster of reds.’
      • ‘Three reds remain but Hendry surprisingly concedes to leave his opponent just one frame from victory.’
      • ‘Another simple red is missed and O'Sullivan goes 48 points up with the remaining reds all on the cushion.’
      • ‘He led 53-8 with two reds left in the 16th frame but snookered himself on the second last red.’
      • ‘He potted 13 reds and 12 blacks before losing position on the colour.’
      • ‘Hunter led by four points when he found himself snookered on the last red.’
      • ‘Hamilton looked in control of the next frame until a bad contact on the cue ball resulted in him missing a simple red.’
    3. 2.3A red light.
  • 3derogatory, informal A communist or socialist.

    • ‘The fact is, fighting anarchists, reds and labor organizers played a very important part in developing modern forms of identification and police power.’
    • ‘Never one to underestimate or understate her own judgements, she feels that China is communist and calls a red a red.’
    • ‘Anton Denikin was a Russian general who fought for the Whites during Russia's civil war against the reds - Lenin's Bolsheviks.’
    • ‘Hoover made an index of 450,000 people he considered to be dangerous reds.’
    • ‘Traditionally, spies revolt against Labour governments because they fear the party is made up of unpatriotic reds.’
    communist, marxist, socialist, left-winger, leftist, bolshevik, revolutionary, anti-capitalist
    commie, lefty
    View synonyms
  • 4The situation of owing money to a bank or making a loss in a business operation.

    ‘the company was £4 million in the red’
    ‘moving the health authority out of the red will be a huge challenge’
    ‘small declines in revenue can soon send an airline plunging into the red’
    • ‘Towards the end of the month however, Joe tends to slip into the red by up to £300.’
    • ‘He said more than five farms had been liquidated and the balance sheets of the remaining farms were in the red.’
    • ‘They struggled out of the red this year to post modest profits of NZ $6 million.’
    • ‘So, within a few days of my pay going into my bank account, I always was back in the red again.’
    • ‘A film with a budget of this size but without stars to lure moviegoers is unlikely to stay out of the red.’
    • ‘A 2% gain in December wasn't enough to lift the company out of the red.’
    • ‘All other hospital trusts in West Yorkshire are also in the red.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the startup costs are high, and for a few years the business will run in the red.’
    • ‘The proposals have been given a mixed response by consumer groups as new research highlights how far UK consumers have fallen into the red.’
    • ‘If you find that you regularly go into the red each month, then you must be living beyond your means, which means spending more than you earn.’
    • ‘That rating was assigned in 1999, when we were in the red on our short-term liquidity.’
    • ‘Other banks charge daily or monthly ‘overdraft management’ fees when you're in the red.’
    • ‘This is the first time the company has been in the red, after previously churning out profits in its operations.’
    • ‘Of course, the best way to deal with debt is never to get into the red in the first place.’
    • ‘However, a mistake in applying for European funding meant it was immediately £165,000 in the red.’
    • ‘Both Trusts have a joint management structure and financial recovery plan to get them out of the red over the next three years.’
    • ‘This paper last week reported that the average household is £24,000 in the red, excluding mortgages.’
    • ‘The organisers were already in the red, even before the start of the event.’
    • ‘Secondary schools in the area which are in the red have debts on average more than three times those of similar schools elsewhere.’
    • ‘When heretired in 1988, the company plunged into the red.’
    • ‘Wilsden Primary has been left £54,000 in the red by crippling budget cuts.’
    overdrawn, in debt, in debit, in deficit, owing money, in arrears, showing a loss
    View synonyms


  • better dead than red (or better red than dead)

    • A Cold War slogan claiming that the prospect of nuclear war was preferable to that of a communist society (or vice versa).

      • ‘Having quite happily countenanced that MAD idea myself - better dead than red - I feel bound in conscience at least to give today's extremists the benefit of the doubt.’
      • ‘This was particularly true during the McCarthy era of the 1950s when anti-Communist hysteria - ‘better dead than red ‘- reached great heights, especially in Catholic circles.’’
      • ‘Ever notice how that kind of rhymes with ‘better dead than red?’’
  • (as) red as a beetroot (north americanbeet)

    • (of a person) red-faced, typically through embarrassment.

      • ‘When she re-emerged to the sounds of chortling, her face was red as a beet with mortification.’
      • ‘As soon as he saw me he grew red as a beet, and glared at me furiously.’
      • ‘When I opened the door, his face was a red as a beetroot and I thought he was going to explode.’
      • ‘Tony suddenly grew angry and his face turned as red as a beetroot.’
      • ‘To my left, Mildew was red as a beetroot, and Trent looked like he was going to keel over at any second.’
  • red in tooth and claw

    • Involving savage or merciless conflict or competition.

      ‘nature, red in tooth and claw’
      • ‘Both literally and figuratively, theirs was a marriage red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘Nature has always been a battle, red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘But of course the owls, along with the centre's other creatures, are hunters red in tooth and claw, and far from suitable as cuddly pets.’
      • ‘A well-functioning bench represents the ultimate triumph of the forces of civilizations over the rule of nature, red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘It is a war of each against all, nature red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘We must celebrate the real world, the rough world, the natural human and human nature red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘It's capitalism, red in tooth and claw, and it isn't pretty.’
      • ‘Moreover, if left on their own, millions upon millions of animals would die more brutal deaths at the hands of a nature red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘They decided not to be red in tooth and claw and instead all drink peacefully at the same waterhole - to be complementary rather than competitive, to share ideas.’
      • ‘While they destroy smaller traders by uncompetitive means, the superstores' relations with each other are not quite as red in tooth and claw as their advertising suggests.’
  • the red planet

    • A name for Mars.

  • a red rag to a bull

    • An object, utterance, or act which is certain to provoke someone.

      ‘the refusal to discuss the central issue was like a red rag to a bull’
      • ‘That was like a red rag to a bull, so I learned off the rule book, took the exam and passed it.’
      • ‘Like a red rag to a bull, the needlessly conceded goal sparked Dulwich back into life and the two-goal cushion was swiftly restored as James completed his hat trick.’
      • ‘This will be like a red rag to a bull - why stir things up?’
      • ‘This makes the ‘knee jerk’ reaction to cancel his booking because he is a ‘racist’ all the more surprising and is a red rag to a bull for people who are concerned about censorship.’
      • ‘This was like a red rag to a bull for the IMF, which rose to the bait last week.’
      • ‘The subject of public sector pensions is like a red rag to a bull for those working in private industry.’
      • ‘Now there's a red rag to a bull, if there ever was one.’
      • ‘His abstention on the Iraq vote was really a red rag to a bull.’
      • ‘To many of the form critics the very word ‘biography’ was like a red rag to a bull.’
      • ‘Davidson's tongue is hanging out which is like a red rag to a bull to Simon Cowell as he grabs hold of it with both hands.’
  • reds under the bed

    • Used during the cold war with reference to the feared presence and influence of communist sympathizers.

      • ‘The People's Republic of China - the communists, the reds under the bed - probably has more toll roads as a percentage of its network than anywhere else.’
      • ‘Harris though seems to be rooted in the political discourse of thirty years ago with his notion of reds under the bed controlling everything.’
  • see red

    • informal Become very angry suddenly.

      ‘the mere thought of Piers with Nicole made her see red’
      • ‘And a new financial crisis has police in St. Bernard Parish seeing red.’
      • ‘Well, the topic of Christmas greenery has residents in one Florida county seeing red.’
      • ‘It's far too soon to know if there will be any takers, but at first brush France still appears to be seeing red.’
      • ‘Why he was suddenly seeing red over the same man he'd been berating all week, he didn't know.’
      • ‘These are the thoughts that have pro-war conservatives seeing red.’
      • ‘Protesters wore red to the rally to symbolise that the community was seeing red over the issue.’
      • ‘But when I see money being spent (and natural resources depleted) to make people more miserable, it just makes me see red.’
      • ‘Recent damage in local woodlands to hides on a lake, and to equipment on the playing field, plus damage to a lamppost opposite the village hall has made councillors see red.’
      • ‘They are reading things like this and seeing red.’
      • ‘Allotment holders are seeing red after burglaries and raids by vandals left their gardens in a mess.’
      become very angry, become enraged, go into a rage, lose one's temper
      get mad, go mad, go crazy, go wild, go bananas, hit the roof, go through the roof, go up the wall, go off the deep end, fly off the handle, blow one's top, blow a fuse, blow a gasket, lose one's rag, go ape, flip, flip one's lid, go non-linear, go ballistic, go psycho
      go spare, go crackers, do one's nut
      flip one's wig, blow one's lid, blow one's stack
      go apeshit
      View synonyms


Old English rēad, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rood and German rot, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin rufus, ruber, Greek eruthros, and Sanskrit rudhira red.