Definition of scarlet in English:



  • Of a brilliant red colour.

    ‘a mass of scarlet berries’
    • ‘Tamora's room was a wide space, and the top panes in her window were tinted red, causing scarlet splashes of colour over the flagstones.’
    • ‘Two military knights, in uniforms of scarlet swallowtail coats with black arm bands, stood in solemn vigil, guarding the Princess's coffin.’
    • ‘The brilliant scarlet sky which provided a backdrop to the ship's arrival helped persuade the five judges the picture was tops.’
    • ‘A widely known garden climber, the scarlet Rangoon creeper is a native of Africa which was introduced in the tropics as a popular ornamental.’
    • ‘The scarlet hue of the rose shone brightly in the mid-afternoon sun.’
    • ‘It can be hard to beat the classic combination of scarlet berries against a backdrop of glossy green leaves.’
    • ‘I was dressed in a scarlet shirt, Levis and runners.’
    • ‘Grouse, thrushes, waxwings, and woodpeckers enjoy the clusters of scarlet fall berries, which remain on the tree all winter if not eaten.’
    • ‘The brilliant masses of scarlet flowers of the Gulmohar are quite a sight in any setting.’
    • ‘Most of the women in the congregation wore Easter straw hats sporting scarlet roses.’
    • ‘And to wake us up we had the loudest and brightest alarm clock in paradise: a flock of screeching scarlet macaws passing overhead.’
    • ‘With her strong, well-defined eyes and scarlet lips, she looks quite stunning, but it is an uncompromising look that not everyone can pull off.’
    • ‘I used to imagine that I lived there, behind the shutters and balconies, that I owned those pots with the spilling scarlet flowers.’
    • ‘Soft, low lighting adds a noir, decadent dimness to the scarlet interior, the ruby red carpets almost glowing.’
    • ‘The brilliant orange, red flowers of the scarlet runnerbean supply nectar all summer long for hummingbirds and butterflies.’
    • ‘It does indeed have scarlet flowers, or rather two swept-back, brilliant-red petals that reveal the purple inner petals of the bloom.’
    • ‘I picture the scarlet robes of Tibetan monks blowing in the cold wind, as they take cover in caves, behind rocks and in the towers of monasteries hundreds of years old.’
    • ‘The park spreads out behind the mouth of the river, where each day at twilight a flood of scarlet macaws migrates from the tropical forest to the mangrove swamps.’
    • ‘The lack of chatter very noticeable, as was the scarlet colour growing in my mother's cheeks.’
    • ‘Sporting a scarlet shirt under his dark jacket, he was in growling good humour.’
    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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mass noun
  • 1A brilliant red colour.

    ‘papers lettered in scarlet and black’
    • ‘Jeremy, who had turned a very bright hue of scarlet, didn't reply.’
    • ‘The sun was low in the west, and the sunset that accompanied it drenched the white roses in scarlet.’
    • ‘As he walked me over to the pyramid the next morning, I vowed to myself that I would not lie down until the entire town was a glow of scarlet.’
    • ‘In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet before dropping.’
    • ‘His nails dug into his palm hard enough to bathe them in scarlet.’
    • ‘Turning a brilliant shade of scarlet, I quickly jerked free and hurriedly went back to the table, draining my glass of water.’
    • ‘The flower stems should be tall, around two feet in height, and the flowers a rich cherry red, each petal edged in scarlet.’
    • ‘Stunning pale pink buds open pure white, followed in the autumn by glossy golden fruits flushed with orange and scarlet.’
    • ‘As for radishes, they vary in color from scarlet to black, purple, and white.’
    • ‘They are great for growing along a trellis or fence, and bloom profusely in bright shades of blue, purple, pink and scarlet.’
    • ‘Hanging behind them are rugs of varying sizes, layers of them, many with warm deep hues of scarlet, purchased in Dutch flea markets.’
    • ‘‘I've been having a lot of alcohol lately,’ Beth admitted, her cheeks flushing scarlet.’
    • ‘The wound on his side was an angry blotch, tipped in scarlet.’
    • ‘All of the colors swirled together, scarlet, crimson, vermilion, gold, violet, and rose converging on a darkened figure in the center.’
    • ‘Nat's cheek had started to turn red, but my hand made a huge outline of itself in scarlet on Dayton's face.’
    • ‘They give an awe-inspiring explosion of fat, juicy blooms in scarlet, yellow or deep purpley - black.’
    • ‘The floor was carpeted in scarlet, and suits of armor lined the extent of the hall; in fact, it was more of a tunnel than a hall.’
    • ‘‘Yes, sir,’ I mumbled, my face flushing scarlet as I took the seat in the back corner.’
    • ‘She went a brilliant shade of scarlet before answering.’
    • ‘He flushed a brilliant scarlet at her remark, thrusting his hands back into the water so quickly that he splashed some over the side.’
    flush, blush, rosiness, pinkness, redness, crimson, reddening, ruddiness, high colour
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    1. 1.1 Scarlet clothes or material.
      ‘silk awnings of brilliant scarlet’
      • ‘A woman dressed in deep scarlet stood in front of the two younger figures, one male one female.’
      • ‘Behind him, leaning against the wall, was a young woman with long blonde hair and startling green eyes, wearing a flowing gown of deep scarlet.’
      • ‘He is dressed in rich robes of scarlet and purple, and wears a small band on his head.’
      • ‘The monochrome design for the production resembles a black-and-white film noir in which the doomed characters are dressed in scarlet as if splashed with blood.’
      • ‘Though the gap in his fingers, he had gazed upon the man dressed in regal scarlet, presently greeting the crown prince.’
      • ‘She dressed in scarlet, the colour of martyrdom.’
      • ‘She was clothed in an attractive silk blouse of scarlet with gold brocade that laced up her ample front like a bodice.’
      • ‘I strip them of their gray shifts and garb them in scarlet and cobalt.’
      • ‘She joined the Duke, dressed in smart regimental scarlet and blue, at the altar.’
      • ‘Nine stylised figures stand below it with no details on them - seven of them draped in white, contrasted by two of them in scarlet.’
      • ‘She was clothed in purple and scarlet, she wore jewels and gold all over, and she held a golden cup.’
      • ‘He was splendidly dressed in the royal scarlet and bluish violet.’
      • ‘Yukie Fujimoto, a mysterious woman in scarlet, points her index finger at the hapless hero.’
      • ‘Another scarf of bright scarlet and blue sat on her head, folded in such a way that seemed to imply great care.’
      • ‘They opened and two guards stood in front of the party, dressed in robes of scarlet with black trim.’
      • ‘He was robed in garish scarlet and green, and he grabbed people's shoulders and gesticulated wildly as he shouted at them.’
      • ‘Men in scarlet ran in every direction, some shouldering muskets, others munitions and like paraphernalia.’
      • ‘I picked a lovely lilac and Lauretta decided on velvet scarlet.’
      • ‘There were two layers of fabric, a satiny scarlet covered with a flower-patterned sheer.’
      • ‘He was arrayed in robes of black and scarlet and he wore a golden circlet on his head.’


Middle English (originally denoting any brightly coloured cloth): shortening of Old French escarlate, from medieval Latin scarlata, via Arabic and medieval Greek from late Latin sigillatus ‘decorated with small images’, from sigillum ‘small image’.