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.’
    • ‘She walked up to a mirror and painted the creamy dark red lipstick over her lips.’
    • ‘She had dark red lipstick across her lips and her eyelashes looked longer and she bat them often.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dark red blood forms a glaring contrast to the sickly green of the flesh.’
    • ‘The wallet was dark red cord and the diary green and blue in colour.’
    • ‘A dark red patch of blood marked the spot where the first intruder had fallen.’
    • ‘He'd stood up and his back was to her, his dirty blond hair was matted with dark red blood.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth slightly trying to say something, but he only coughed out more dark red blood.’
    • ‘Dark red blood was running down the furry arm, and the hunter advanced again.’
    • ‘Her ruby red lips were grinning slyly as she placed her arms around her lover's neck.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She just loves the dramatic ruby red colour and the fresh raspberry taste.’
    • ‘Eyewitnesses saw two men on a red motorcycle open fire with automatic weapons outside a cafe and then speed away.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Men with splendid handlebar moustaches sport glorious orange or red turbans.’
    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’
      • ‘Oshino's face was red with anger and embarrassment and he stormed off angrily.’
      • ‘His body was shaking and his own face was red in anger and shame.’
      • ‘The man's face was red from anger and he was about to carry on his yelling fit, but Ali began a coughing fit.’
      • ‘I knew by the time his eyes reached my chest area my face was embarrassingly red.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many people's faces in the audience were red and sweaty because of the heat.’
      • ‘But I pull myself together, puffy red face and all, and go back to the station to fix my mistake.’
      • ‘She was panting hard and her face was really red, like she was embarrassed to be late.’
      • ‘His face was red with anger, and he looked rather like a handsome tomato.’
      • ‘It reassured me that everything was okay between us but I was still red with embarrassment.’
      • ‘Her face was red and she grimaced more from the pain than the bitter cold.’
      • ‘Nicole's face was red with heat and she and I leaned on one another to get to the downstairs group room.’
      • ‘The inhibitions disappear and the red face is a result of happy exertion rather than excruciating bashfulness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My ankles often collapsed underneath me, leaving me with grazed hands and ankles and a red face.’
      • ‘The man yelled in her face, spit was falling everywhere and the man's face was red with anger.’
      • ‘His face was still red, he could feel his cheeks burning with the embarrassment.’
      • ‘His face was very red, but Pegasus couldn't tell if it was anger or embarrassment.’
      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’
      • ‘Her eyes were red and puffy from all the crying she had done all night.’
      • ‘Rosalie had her hair was in a long single messy braid, and her eyes were red and bloodshot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His eyes were red, but his behavior was perfectly normal, as though it were just an ordinary day.’
      • ‘She was still trying to hide her face, for her eyes were red and swollen from all the crying.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His eyes were red and there were circles underneath them when at last he woke, very early in the morning.’
      • ‘Her eyes were still red and swollen, though she still had a brightening smile over her face.’
      • ‘She looked at me, sitting in my desk frozen, and her eyes were red and teary.’
      • ‘I opened my eyes and saw that her eyes were still red and wet, but she looked absolutely beautiful.’
      • ‘I wept every night, sometimes so long, that in the morning, my eyes were still red.’
      • ‘When Sara finally lifted her head, her eyes were red and tear-stained.’
      • ‘My eyes were red and I was holding a scrunched up tissue in my hand.’
      • ‘Jasmine, whose eyes were red and puffy and bloodshot, stood up, wiping her nose with the tissue in her hand.’
      • ‘She raised her head to look at him, her eyes were red, puffy, and filled with fear.’
      • ‘Her mother's wide brown eyes were red and puffy and an ugly black bruise was swelling on her cheek.’
      • ‘Her eyes were red and swollen, something I hadn't noticed earlier because of the way her hair shielded her face.’
      • ‘My eyes were red and stinging by the time my crying spell passed, and Julius was asking for a walk.’
      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.’
      • ‘She spotted a woman with flaming red hair walking slightly in front of her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There in front of her stood a large man with flaming red hair and large pale green eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was last seen with bright red hair, but has been blonde in the past and could have dyed her hair a dark colour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was a skinny girl with flame red hair and a million freckles.’
      • ‘She was braiding my long, red hair just the way I like it and we were talking.’
      • ‘She was born after a quick labor and has a coating of bright red hair on her little head.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I looked at his red hair and his muscular, hairy legs and decided I wasn't attracted to him.’
      • ‘I had bright red hair as a child, but it has progressively darkened to its current brown.’
      • ‘She reached down and tenderly pushed a few strands of dirty rusty red hair out of Tom's eyes.’
      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’
      • ‘If you do not have the necessary sambas or canastas to end the game, for every melded red three you receive 100 penalty points.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Would I pour my water into my white wine glass, red wine into my port glass or the whole lot over the tablecloth?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The principal grape used in the red wines of this region is Syrah.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is home to very luscious and exotic red wines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon.’
      • ‘As well as being the source of red Burgundy wines, it is also a backbone of Champagne blends.’
      • ‘They had come armed with plenty of local red wine and soon it was flowing fast.’
      • ‘Add the red wine, allow to bubble for a few minutes, stirring.’
      • ‘For a long time red wine has been touted for its healthy effects on the heart.’
      • ‘The red wines, which are always my favourite tipple, are outstanding.’
      • ‘Yield of their red wine is down, but that's due to their replanting programme.’
      • ‘Use patience, a very sharp carving knife, and lots of red wine for your guests.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I seldom drink spirits, but I like a glass of red wine, sometimes a beer.’
      • ‘Where once Burgundy had the field to itself, other parts of the world are now making some gorgeous red wines from Pinot Noir.’
    7. 1.7 Denoting a red light or flag used as a signal to stop.
      • ‘Buses maybe given a separate phase to travel through the intersection, while all other traffic is held on a red signal.’
      • ‘A red signal stops action, and green alerts the player that the coach needs his or her attention.’
      • ‘The driver around whom the dispute is centred was demoted after passing four red signals.’
      • ‘Cameras were installed but seem to do little except consistently fail to identify speeding motorists who disregard the 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.’
      • ‘He grabbed red danger flags and special detonators, used to stop trains, and ran into the path of the train.’
      • ‘If you can't even get people to stop at a red traffic light, then what's the point?’
      • ‘Even they will stop at red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.’
      • ‘And in the centre of this ominous landscape is a street crossing with red traffic 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.’
      • ‘In Beijing, some traffic lights offer a countdown clock for both green and red signals.’
      • ‘The train ahead is protected by a red signal, which will not change if the following train goes too fast.’
      • ‘There are several examples of drivers passing red signals simply because in their experience they expect it to be green.’
      • ‘You don't stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car.’
      • ‘Finally, the red traffic light means stop, even if your car is expensive or has the word ‘taxi’ on the roof.’
      • ‘But drivers also fail to stop at red signals because they have misread a signal, or chosen to disregard it.’
      • ‘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.’
    8. 1.8 Used 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.’
      • ‘She looked over at the wall to see that the red lights that usually flash when the red alert rings off were not on.’
      • ‘Police in Ramsbottom put fitness fans on red alert today after a jogger in a neighbouring district was attacked.’
      • ‘The Met Office has put highways departments in the region on red alert - the highest warning in its traffic light system of alerts.’
      • ‘They are believed to be the work of terrorists and the usual agencies are put on red alert for an attack.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A First Bus spokesman said services are still on red alert and will be cut if the trouble continues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hospital bosses said a continuation of the problems that triggered the first six-day red alert led to its renewal again on Tuesday.’
      • ‘Morecambe Bay Hospitals have been put on red alert and operations have been cancelled for the second time this month.’
      • ‘Farmers in North Yorkshire were on red alert today after the first case of foot and mouth was confirmed within the county.’
      • ‘The hospital has been put on red alert several times in the past few weeks, as winter ills make their presence felt.’
      • ‘All the sudden, the red alert sounded and all the girls stopped playing cards in response.’
      • ‘Britain's countryside was placed on red alert yesterday as both city and rural dwellers were told to keep away from farmland.’
      • ‘Under red alert, police personnel would not be permitted to take leave or go out of the city.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A fifth of Essex's roads have been given a red alert and are in urgent need of repair.’
    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’
  • 3archaic, literary 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).

      • ‘Ever notice how that kind of rhymes with ‘better dead than red?’’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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 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’
      • ‘It's capitalism, red in tooth and claw, and it isn't pretty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We must celebrate the real world, the rough world, the natural human and human nature red in tooth and claw.’
      • ‘Both literally and figuratively, theirs was a marriage 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.’
      • ‘It is a war of each against all, nature 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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The subject of public sector pensions is like a red rag to a bull for those working in private industry.’
      • ‘This was like a red rag to a bull for the IMF, which rose to the bait last week.’
      • ‘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 will be like a red rag to a bull - why stir things up?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To many of the form critics the very word ‘biography’ was like a red rag to a bull.’
      • ‘His abstention on the Iraq vote was really 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.’
  • reds under the bed

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

      • ‘Harris though seems to be rooted in the political discourse of thirty years ago with his notion of reds under the bed controlling everything.’
      • ‘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.’
  • see red

    • informal Become very angry suddenly.

      ‘the mere thought of Piers with Nicole made her 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.’
      • ‘Well, the topic of Christmas greenery has residents in one Florida county seeing red.’
      • ‘And a new financial crisis has police in St. Bernard Parish 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.’
      • ‘But when I see money being spent (and natural resources depleted) to make people more miserable, it just makes me 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.’
      • ‘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
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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/