Definition of scarlet in English:



  • Of a brilliant red colour.

    ‘a mass of scarlet berries’
    • ‘The brilliant orange, red flowers of the scarlet runnerbean supply nectar all summer long for hummingbirds and butterflies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It does indeed have scarlet flowers, or rather two swept-back, brilliant-red petals that reveal the purple inner petals of the bloom.’
    • ‘Sporting a scarlet shirt under his dark jacket, he was in growling good humour.’
    • ‘The scarlet hue of the rose shone brightly in the mid-afternoon sun.’
    • ‘A widely known garden climber, the scarlet Rangoon creeper is a native of Africa which was introduced in the tropics as a popular ornamental.’
    • ‘Soft, low lighting adds a noir, decadent dimness to the scarlet interior, the ruby red carpets almost glowing.’
    • ‘And to wake us up we had the loudest and brightest alarm clock in paradise: a flock of screeching scarlet macaws passing overhead.’
    • ‘The brilliant masses of scarlet flowers of the Gulmohar are quite a sight in any setting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The lack of chatter very noticeable, as was the scarlet colour growing in my mother's cheeks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Grouse, thrushes, waxwings, and woodpeckers enjoy the clusters of scarlet fall berries, which remain on the tree all winter if not eaten.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Stunning pale pink buds open pure white, followed in the autumn by glossy golden fruits flushed with orange and scarlet.’
    • ‘His nails dug into his palm hard enough to bathe them in scarlet.’
    • ‘Nat's cheek had started to turn red, but my hand made a huge outline of itself in scarlet on Dayton's face.’
    • ‘‘I've been having a lot of alcohol lately,’ Beth admitted, her cheeks flushing scarlet.’
    • ‘Turning a brilliant shade of scarlet, I quickly jerked free and hurriedly went back to the table, draining my glass of water.’
    • ‘Hanging behind them are rugs of varying sizes, layers of them, many with warm deep hues of scarlet, purchased in Dutch flea markets.’
    • ‘All of the colors swirled together, scarlet, crimson, vermilion, gold, violet, and rose converging on a darkened figure in the center.’
    • ‘‘Yes, sir,’ I mumbled, my face flushing scarlet as I took the seat in the back corner.’
    • ‘The sun was low in the west, and the sunset that accompanied it drenched the white roses in scarlet.’
    • ‘As for radishes, they vary in color from scarlet to black, purple, and white.’
    • ‘The flower stems should be tall, around two feet in height, and the flowers a rich cherry red, each petal edged in scarlet.’
    • ‘The wound on his side was an angry blotch, tipped in scarlet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He flushed a brilliant scarlet at her remark, thrusting his hands back into the water so quickly that he splashed some over the side.’
    • ‘In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet before dropping.’
    • ‘She went a brilliant shade of scarlet before answering.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jeremy, who had turned a very bright hue of scarlet, didn't reply.’
    • ‘They are great for growing along a trellis or fence, and bloom profusely in bright shades of blue, purple, pink and scarlet.’
    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’
      • ‘She was clothed in an attractive silk blouse of scarlet with gold brocade that laced up her ample front like a bodice.’
      • ‘She dressed in scarlet, the colour of martyrdom.’
      • ‘He is dressed in rich robes of scarlet and purple, and wears a small band on his head.’
      • ‘I strip them of their gray shifts and garb them in scarlet and cobalt.’
      • ‘Yukie Fujimoto, a mysterious woman in scarlet, points her index finger at the hapless hero.’
      • ‘She joined the Duke, dressed in smart regimental scarlet and blue, at the altar.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was clothed in purple and scarlet, she wore jewels and gold all over, and she held a golden cup.’
      • ‘He was robed in garish scarlet and green, and he grabbed people's shoulders and gesticulated wildly as he shouted at them.’
      • ‘I picked a lovely lilac and Lauretta decided on velvet scarlet.’
      • ‘He was splendidly dressed in the royal scarlet and bluish violet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was arrayed in robes of black and scarlet and he wore a golden circlet on his head.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were two layers of fabric, a satiny scarlet covered with a flower-patterned sheer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nine stylised figures stand below it with no details on them - seven of them draped in white, contrasted by two of them in scarlet.’


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’.