[ koch-uh-neel, koh-chuh-, koch-uh-neel, koh-chuh- ]
/ ˌkɒtʃ əˈnil, ˌkoʊ tʃə-, ˈkɒtʃ əˌnil, ˈkoʊ tʃə- /
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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
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.
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