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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Kermes \Ker"mes\, n. [Ar. & Per. girmiz. See Crimson, and cf. Alkermes.]

  1. (Zo["o]l.) The dried bodies of the females of a scale insect ( Kermes ilices formerly Coccus ilicis), allied to the cochineal insect, and found on several species of oak near the Mediterranean; also, the dye obtained from them. They are round, about the size of a pea, contain coloring matter analogous to carmine, and are used in dyeing. They were anciently thought to be of a vegetable nature, and were used in medicine. [Written also chermes.]

  2. (Bot.) A small European evergreen oak ( Quercus coccifera) on which the kermes insect ( Kermes ilices, formerly Coccus ilicis) feeds.
    --J. Smith (Dict. Econ. Plants).

  3. (Zo["o]l.) [NL.] A genus of scale insects including many species that feed on oaks. The adult female resembles a small gall. Kermes mineral.

    1. (Old Chem.) An artificial amorphous trisulphide of antimony; -- so called on account of its red color.

    2. (Med. Chem.) A compound of the trioxide and trisulphide of antimony, used in medicine. This substance occurs in nature as the mineral kermesite.


n. (alternative form of kermes English)