[ awr-kil, -chil ]
/ ˈɔr kɪl, -tʃɪl /


a violet coloring matter obtained from certain lichens, chiefly species of Roccella.
any lichen yielding this dye.

Origin of orchil

Borrowed into English from Old French around 1475–85
Also called archil, orseille.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for orchil



/ (ˈɔːkɪl, -tʃɪl) /


any of various lichens, esp any of the genera Roccella, Dendrographa, and Lecanora
Also called: cudbear a purplish dye obtained by treating these lichens with aqueous ammonia: contains orcinol, orcein, and litmus

Word Origin for orchil

C15: from Old French orcheil, of uncertain 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