2. [syn: cochineal insect, cochineal, Dactylopius coccus]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cochineal \Coch"i*neal\ (k[o^]ch"[i^]*n[=e]l; 277), [Sp.
cochinilla, dim. from L. coccineus, coccinus, scarlet, fr.
coccum the kermes berry, G. ko`kkos berry, especially the
kermes insect, used to dye scarlet, as the cochineal was
formerly supposed to be the grain or seed of a plant, and
this word was formerly defined to be the grain of the
Quercus coccifera; but cf. also Sp. cochinilla wood louse,
dim. of cochina sow, akin to F. cochon pig.]
A dyestuff consisting of the dried bodies of females of the
Coccus cacti, an insect native in Mexico, Central America,
etc., and found on several species of cactus, esp. Opuntia
Note: These insects are gathered from the plant, killed by
the application of heat, and exposed to the sun to dry.
When dried they resemble small, rough berries or seeds,
of a brown or purple color, and form the cochineal of
the shops, which is used for making carmine, and also
as a red dye.
Note: Cochineal contains as its essential coloring matter
carminic acid, a purple red amorphous substance which
yields carmine red.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female
2: Mexican red scale insect that feeds on cacti; the source of a
red dye [syn: cochineal insect, cochineal, Dactylopius