Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


There was an enigmatic smile bending the scarlet lips as she answered.

As it was, his face was scarlet, when he turned it away from the desk and towards the boys.

Sophy was unwell, was feverish; the scarlet fever had been in the neighbourhood.

The doctor was sent for, and pronounced it to be the scarlet fever.

She took off her hat and pulled the scarlet flowers from it.

"I'm not twenty yet," said Betty, with ears and face of scarlet.

To-day she had contrived to pick up some geranium blossoms, scarlet and pink.

The boy's face was red enough at all times, but it turned to scarlet now.

But not a single man in the crowd called upon the stranger in scarlet.

He, also, took overheed to what he was about, and so he fell into Will Scarlet's error.


mid-13c., "rich cloth" (often, but not necessarily, bright red), from a shortened form of Old French escarlate "scarlet (color), top-quality fabric" (12c., Modern French écarlate), from Medieval Latin scarlatum "scarlet, cloth of scarlet" (also source of Italian scarlatto, Spanish escarlate), probably via a Middle Eastern source (cf. Arabic siqillat "fine cloth"), from Medieval Greek and ultimately from Late Latin sigillatus "clothes and cloth decorated with small symbols or figures," literally "sealed," past participle of sigillare, from the root of sign (n.).

In English as the name of a color, attested from late 14c. As an adjective from c.1300. Scarlet lady, etc. (Isa. i:18, Rev. xvii:1-5) is from notion of "red with shame or indignation." Scarlet fever is from 1670s, so called for its characteristic rash. Scarlet oak, a New World tree, attested from 1590s. Scarlet letter traces to Hawthorne's story (1850). German Scharlach, Dutch scharlaken show influence of words cognate with English lake (n.2).


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.