Definition of scarlet in English:



  • Of a brilliant red colour.

    ‘a mass of scarlet berries’
    • ‘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 brilliant orange, red flowers of the scarlet runnerbean supply nectar all summer long for hummingbirds and butterflies.’
    • ‘It can be hard to beat the classic combination of scarlet berries against a backdrop of glossy green leaves.’
    • ‘Most of the women in the congregation wore Easter straw hats sporting scarlet roses.’
    • ‘I used to imagine that I lived there, behind the shutters and balconies, that I owned those pots with the spilling scarlet flowers.’
    • ‘I was dressed in a scarlet shirt, Levis and runners.’
    • ‘And to wake us up we had the loudest and brightest alarm clock in paradise: a flock of screeching scarlet macaws passing overhead.’
    • ‘The lack of chatter very noticeable, as was the scarlet colour growing in my mother's cheeks.’
    • ‘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 brilliant masses of scarlet flowers of the Gulmohar are quite a sight in any setting.’
    • ‘Two military knights, in uniforms of scarlet swallowtail coats with black arm bands, stood in solemn vigil, guarding the Princess's coffin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Grouse, thrushes, waxwings, and woodpeckers enjoy the clusters of scarlet fall berries, which remain on the tree all winter if not eaten.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soft, low lighting adds a noir, decadent dimness to the scarlet interior, the ruby red carpets almost glowing.’
    • ‘The scarlet hue of the rose shone brightly in the mid-afternoon sun.’
    • ‘Sporting a scarlet shirt under his dark jacket, he was in growling good humour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The brilliant scarlet sky which provided a backdrop to the ship's arrival helped persuade the five judges the picture was tops.’
    • ‘It does indeed have scarlet flowers, or rather two swept-back, brilliant-red petals that reveal the purple inner petals of the bloom.’
    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’
    • ‘His nails dug into his palm hard enough to bathe them in 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.’
    • ‘They give an awe-inspiring explosion of fat, juicy blooms in scarlet, yellow or deep purpley - black.’
    • ‘‘Yes, sir,’ I mumbled, my face flushing scarlet as I took the seat in the back corner.’
    • ‘As for radishes, they vary in color from scarlet to black, purple, and white.’
    • ‘All of the colors swirled together, scarlet, crimson, vermilion, gold, violet, and rose converging on a darkened figure in the center.’
    • ‘They are great for growing along a trellis or fence, and bloom profusely in bright shades of blue, purple, pink and scarlet.’
    • ‘The sun was low in the west, and the sunset that accompanied it drenched the white roses in scarlet.’
    • ‘Jeremy, who had turned a very bright hue of scarlet, didn't reply.’
    • ‘Stunning pale pink buds open pure white, followed in the autumn by glossy golden fruits flushed with orange and 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.’
    • ‘She went a brilliant shade of scarlet before answering.’
    • ‘The flower stems should be tall, around two feet in height, and the flowers a rich cherry red, each petal edged in scarlet.’
    • ‘Turning a brilliant shade of scarlet, I quickly jerked free and hurriedly went back to the table, draining my glass of water.’
    • ‘In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet before dropping.’
    • ‘He flushed a brilliant scarlet at her remark, thrusting his hands back into the water so quickly that he splashed some over the side.’
    • ‘The wound on his side was an angry blotch, tipped in scarlet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nat's cheek had started to turn red, but my hand made a huge outline of itself in scarlet on Dayton's face.’
    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’
      • ‘He is dressed in rich robes of scarlet and purple, and wears a small band on his head.’
      • ‘There were two layers of fabric, a satiny scarlet covered with a flower-patterned sheer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was robed in garish scarlet and green, and he grabbed people's shoulders and gesticulated wildly as he shouted at them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They opened and two guards stood in front of the party, dressed in robes of scarlet with black trim.’
      • ‘She joined the Duke, dressed in smart regimental scarlet and blue, at the altar.’
      • ‘He was arrayed in robes of black and scarlet and he wore a golden circlet on his head.’
      • ‘He was splendidly dressed in the royal scarlet and bluish violet.’
      • ‘She was clothed in purple and scarlet, she wore jewels and gold all over, and she held a golden cup.’
      • ‘Yukie Fujimoto, a mysterious woman in scarlet, points her index finger at the hapless hero.’
      • ‘She dressed in scarlet, the colour of martyrdom.’
      • ‘I picked a lovely lilac and Lauretta decided on velvet scarlet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nine stylised figures stand below it with no details on them - seven of them draped in white, contrasted by two of them in scarlet.’
      • ‘Another scarf of bright scarlet and blue sat on her head, folded in such a way that seemed to imply great care.’
      • ‘Men in scarlet ran in every direction, some shouldering muskets, others munitions and like paraphernalia.’
      • ‘Though the gap in his fingers, he had gazed upon the man dressed in regal scarlet, presently greeting the crown prince.’
      • ‘A woman dressed in deep scarlet stood in front of the two younger figures, one male one female.’


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’.