[ koch-uh-neel, koh-chuh-, koch-uh-neel, koh-chuh- ]
/ ˌkɒtʃ əˈnil, ˌkoʊ tʃə-, ˈkɒtʃ əˌnil, ˈkoʊ tʃə- /


a red dye prepared from the dried bodies of the females of the cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus, which lives on cactuses of Mexico, Central America, and other warm regions.



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Origin of cochineal

1575–85; < Middle French cochinille < Spanish cochinilla the insect; of obscure origin; perhaps to be identified with Spanish cochinilla sow bug (assuming a likeness between it and the female cochineal insect), diminutive of cochina sow, but chronology is doubtful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for cochineal

British Dictionary definitions for cochineal

/ (ˌkɒtʃɪˈniːl, ˈkɒtʃɪˌniːl) /


Also called: cochineal insect a Mexican homopterous insect, Dactylopius coccus, that feeds on cacti
a crimson substance obtained from the crushed bodies of these insects, used for colouring food and for dyeing
  1. the colour of this dye
  2. (as adjective)cochineal shoes

Word Origin for cochineal

C16: from Old Spanish cochinilla, from Latin coccineus scarlet-coloured, from coccum cochineal kermes, from Greek kokkos kermes berry
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

Medical definitions for cochineal

[ kŏch′ə-nēl, kŏchə-nēl′, kō′chə-nēl′, kōchə-nēl′ ]


A red dye made of dried, pulverized female cochineal insects and used as a biological stain and as an indicator in acid-base titrations.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.