First attested ca. 1600, from French kermès, from Medieval Latin cremesinus (compare Italian chermes, Spanish carmes), from Arabic قِرْمِز (qirmiz) (whence also Portuguese quermes, alquermes), from a Persian word meaning “worm-colored” (compare modern Persian قرمز (qermez)), ultimately Proto-Indo-Iranian *kŕ̥miš (“worm”), possibly via borrowing from a Sanskrit formation. Related to carmine and crimson. For the semantic development, compare vermilion from Latin vermis (“worm”) and its cognates.
kermes (plural kermes)
- (countable) Any of several insects of the genus Kermes.
- (uncountable) A crimson dye made from the crushed bodies of these insects.
- → Translingual: Kermes