Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[skahr-lit] /ˈskɑr lɪt/
a bright-red color inclining toward orange.
cloth or clothing of this color.
of the color scarlet.
flagrantly offensive:
Their sins were scarlet.
Origin of scarlet
1200-50; Middle English < Old French escarlate < Medieval Latin scarlata, scarletum, perhaps < Arabic saqirlāṭ, siqillāṭ < Medieval Greek sigillátos < Latin sigillātus decorated with patterns in relief; see sigillate Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for scarlet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not for us the scarlet coats, the tossing plumes, the shining helmets or tall busbies.

    A Padre in France George A. Birmingham
  • Her face was scarlet and two tears were creeping down her checks.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • It was an occasion of energetic color-flaunting, in which black and scarlet banners predominated.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • The stain of blood is in every scarlet thread of your carpets, rugs, and curtains.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • A woman in a pink frock, with a scarlet sunshade, crossed the road, a little white dog running like a fleck of light about her.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for scarlet


a vivid red colour, sometimes with an orange tinge
cloth or clothing of this colour
of the colour scarlet
sinful or immoral, esp unchaste
Word Origin
C13: from Old French escarlate fine cloth, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for scarlet

mid-13c., "rich cloth" (often, but not necessarily, bright red), from a shortened form of Old French escarlate "scarlet (color), top-quality fabric" (12c., Modern French écarlate), from Medieval Latin scarlatum "scarlet, cloth of scarlet" (also source of Italian scarlatto, Spanish escarlate), probably via a Middle Eastern source (cf. Arabic siqillat "fine cloth"), from Medieval Greek and ultimately from Late Latin sigillatus "clothes and cloth decorated with small symbols or figures," literally "sealed," past participle of sigillare, from the root of sign (n.).

In English as the name of a color, attested from late 14c. As an adjective from c.1300. Scarlet lady, etc. (Isa. i:18, Rev. xvii:1-5) is from notion of "red with shame or indignation." Scarlet fever is from 1670s, so called for its characteristic rash. Scarlet oak, a New World tree, attested from 1590s. Scarlet letter traces to Hawthorne's story (1850). German Scharlach, Dutch scharlaken show influence of words cognate with English lake (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for scarlet

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for scarlet

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for scarlet