1. A strong to vivid red or reddish orange.
2. Scarlet-colored clothing or cloth.
1. Of a strong to vivid red or reddish orange.
2. Flagrantly immoral or unchaste: scarlet thoughts.
[Middle English, scarlet cloth, scarlet, from Old French escarlate, from Medieval Latin scarlata, scarlet cloth, from Persian saqirlāt, rich cloth, scarlet cloth, variant of siqillāt, from Arabic, perhaps from Medieval Greek *sigillatos, from Latin sigillātus, decorated with raised figures, from sigilla, little figures, pl. of sigillum, sigil; see SIGIL.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.