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a. a vivid red colour, sometimes with a purplish tinge
b. (as adjective): carmine paint



a red dye extracted from the bodies of wingless female cochineal insects. Carmine, a complex organic carminic acid, is extracted from the insects with hot water and acetic acid. It is soluble in water and alkalies. One gram of carmine is obtained from 150-175 insects. Carmine is used as a food coloring and a cosmetic dye. It is also used to stain microscopic specimens.

References in classic literature ?
Her carmine lips vaticinated with an extraordinary rapidity.
Made up with curls, wreaths, wings, white bismuth, and carmine, this hopeful young person soared into so pleasing a Cupid as to constitute the chief delight of the maternal part of the spectators; but in private, where his characteristics were a precocious cutaway coat and an extremely gruff voice, he became of the Turf, turfy.
Researchers made a mixture containing 8% carmine solution and Pacific whiting surimi paste, which itself contained 38% surimi, 2% egg white, 2% salt, 5% sugar, 8% corn starch and 45% water.
Pasquale and Carmine Russo were detained in Sperone, 20 miles east of Naples.
QPR boss Paulo Sousa withdrew scorer Di Carmine after 55 minutes in favour of Heidar Helguson.
Rangers made little impact until 20-year-old Di Carmine, on loan from Fiorentina, slotted in their first on-target effort after 54 minutes.
Rangers looked better in the second half when Di Carmine was replaced by Blackstock so it looked just like a Dowie team.
They even found time to threaten on the counter, Di Carmine forcing a fine save from Marcus Hahnemann after a move orchestrated by the impish Dani Parejo.
Key to success: Carmine Sacco at the San Carlo restaurant, Birmingham.
That's where Carmine Gallo's The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs comes to the rescue.
Mr Bryce Carmine and Mr Ian Phillips will extend the Board to 6 members, inclusive of 5 Non-Executive directors and an Executive Chairman.
Sensient Food Colors Europe introduces further innovation enabling food manufacturers to create vibrant red colour shades without having to use carmine.