Definition of red in English:

red

adjective

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

Phrases

  • 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).

      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘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.’
  • red as a beetroot

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

      • ‘When I opened the door, his face was a red as a beetroot and I thought he was going to explode.’
      • ‘To my left, Mildew was red as a beetroot, and Trent looked like he was going to keel over at any second.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tony suddenly grew angry and his face turned as red as a beetroot.’
  • red in tooth and claw

    • Involving savage or merciless conflict or competition.

      ‘nature, red in tooth and claw’
      • ‘It is a war of each against all, nature red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘A well-functioning bench represents the ultimate triumph of the forces of civilizations over the rule of nature, red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We must celebrate the real world, the rough world, the natural human and human 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's capitalism, red in tooth and claw, and it isn't pretty.’
      • ‘Both literally and figuratively, theirs was a marriage red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘Nature has always been a battle, red in tooth and claw.’
  • the red planet

    • A name for Mars.

  • a red rag to a bull

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

      ‘the refusal to discuss the central issue was like a red rag to a bull’
      • ‘This was like a red rag to a bull for the IMF, which rose to the bait last week.’
      • ‘This will be like a red rag to a bull - why stir things up?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now there's a red rag to a bull, if there ever was one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His abstention on the Iraq vote was really a red rag to a bull.’
      • ‘The subject of public sector pensions is like a red rag to a bull for those working in private industry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To many of the form critics the very word ‘biography’ was like a red rag to a bull.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Protesters wore red to the rally to symbolise that the community was seeing red over the issue.’
      • ‘And a new financial crisis has police in St. Bernard Parish seeing red.’
      • ‘Why he was suddenly seeing red over the same man he'd been berating all week, he didn't know.’
      • ‘Allotment holders are seeing red after burglaries and raids by vandals left their gardens in a mess.’
      • ‘These are the thoughts that have pro-war conservatives seeing red.’
      become very angry, become enraged, go into a rage, lose one's temper
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Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

red

/rɛd/