[ red ]
See synonyms for red on
  1. any of various colors resembling the color of blood; the primary color at one extreme end of the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength between 610 and 780 nanometers.

  2. something red.

  1. Often Red .Older Slang: Usually Disparaging. a radical leftist in politics, especially a Communist.

  2. Informal. red light (def. 1).

  3. Informal. red wine: a glass of red.

  4. Also called red bird, red devil, red doll .Slang. a capsule of the drug secobarbital, usually red in color: He was caught with a half dozen reds in the bottom of his pack of cigarettes.

adjective,red·der, red·dest.
  1. of the color red; of or like the color of blood: a red rose.

  2. reddish purple in color: red wine made from purple grapes.

  1. orange, golden brown, or reddish brown in color:red hair.

  2. having distinctive areas or markings of red: a red robin.

  3. bloodshot: red eyes from allergies.

  4. (of the face) flushed or blushing, as from shame:cheeks red with embarrassment.

  5. of or indicating a state of financial loss or indebtedness: the red column in the ledger.

  6. Politics. relating to, supporting, or belonging to the Republican Party in the United States; Republican: This is big news in that it flips a red Senate seat to blue. : Compare blue (def. 20a).

  7. Older Slang: Usually Disparaging.

    • radically left politically.

    • Often Red . communist: Red China.

  8. Older Use: Disparaging and Offensive. relating to, noting, or characteristic of North American Indian peoples.

Idioms about red

  1. in the red, operating at a loss or being in debt (opposed to in the black): The newspaper strike put many businesses in the red.

  2. paint the town red. paint (def. 16).

  1. see red, Informal. to become very angry; become enraged: Snobs make her see red.

Origin of red

First recorded before 900; Middle English red, Old English rēad; cognate with German rot, Dutch rood, Old Norse raudhr, Latin rūfus, ruber, Greek erythrós; see rubella, rufescent, erythro-

Other words from red

  • red·ly, adverb

Words Nearby red

Other definitions for red (2 of 5)

[ red ]

verb (used with object),red, red·ding.

Other definitions for Red (3 of 5)

[ red ]

  1. a male or female given name.

  2. a nickname typically given to someone with red hair.

Other definitions for red- (4 of 5)


  1. variant of re- before a vowel or h in some words: redintegrate.

Other definitions for -red (5 of 5)


  1. a native English suffix, denoting condition, formerly used in the formation of nouns: hatred; kindred.

Origin of -red

Middle English -rede,Old English -rǣden Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use red in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for red (1 of 3)


/ (rɛd) /

  1. any of a group of colours, such as that of a ripe tomato or fresh blood, that lie at one end of the visible spectrum, next to orange, and are perceived by the eye when light in the approximate wavelength range 740–620 nanometres falls on the retina. Red is the complementary colour of cyan and forms a set of primary colours with blue and green: Related adjectives: rubicund, ruddy

  2. a pigment or dye of or producing these colours

  1. red cloth or clothing: dressed in red

  2. a red ball in snooker, billiards, etc

  3. (in roulette and other gambling games) one of two colours on which players may place even bets, the other being black

  4. Also called: inner archery a red ring on a target, between the blue and the gold, scoring seven points

  5. in the red informal in debit; owing money

  6. see red informal to become very angry

adjectiveredder or reddest
  1. of the colour red

  2. reddish in colour or having parts or marks that are reddish: red hair; red deer

  1. having the face temporarily suffused with blood, being a sign of anger, shame, etc

  2. (of the complexion) rosy; florid

  3. (of the eyes) bloodshot

  4. (of the hands) stained with blood, as after committing murder

  5. bloody or violent: red revolution

  6. (of wine) made from black grapes and coloured by their skins

  7. denoting the highest degree of urgency in an emergency; used by the police and the army and informally (esp in the phrase red alert)

  8. US relating to, supporting, or representing the Republican Party: Compare blue (def. 24)

verbreds, redding or redded
  1. another word for redden

Origin of red

Old English rēad; compare Old High German rōt, Gothic rauths, Latin ruber, Greek eruthros, Sanskrit rohita

Derived forms of red

  • redly, adverb
  • redness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for red (2 of 3)


/ (rɛd) /

verbreds, redding, red or redded
  1. (tr) a variant spelling of redd 1

British Dictionary definitions for Red (3 of 3)


/ (rɛd) informal /

  1. Communist, Socialist, or Soviet

  2. radical, leftist, or revolutionary

  1. a member or supporter of a Communist or Socialist Party or a national of a state having such a government, esp the former Soviet Union

  2. a radical, leftist, or revolutionary

Origin of Red

C19: from the colour chosen to symbolize revolutionary socialism

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with red


In addition to the idioms beginning with red

  • red carpet
  • red cent
  • red herring
  • red in the face, be
  • red tape

also see:

  • catch red-handed
  • in the red
  • not worth a dime (red cent)
  • paint the town red
  • see red

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.