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What’s another word for the color red?

What’s another word for the color red?

Red is a vivid, bold color that evokes strong emotions. It’s associated with love, passion, anger, and danger. When describing the color red, there are many alternative words and phrases that can be used. Synonyms for red provide variety in language and allow writers to precisely capture the shade and intensity of red they wish to convey.

In this article, we will explore common synonyms and alternative words for the color red. We will examine how these red synonyms differ in their connotations and usage. We will also provide example sentences demonstrating how these words can be used in context. With a robust vocabulary for describing red, you can more accurately portray this powerful color in writing.


One of the most common synonyms for red is “scarlet.” Like red, scarlet is a bright, warm color on the red end of the color spectrum. However, scarlet refers specifically to a red with a slightly orange tint.

Scarlet is often associated with passion and vibrancy. For example:

The actress wore a scarlet gown to the movie premiere.
The bright scarlet flowers bloomed abundantly after the rains came.

Scarlet can also sometimes have negative connotations related to scandal and impropriety. For instance:

She was ashamed after bringing scandal to her family’s name.

Overall, scarlet is used to refer to vivid, reddish hues ranging from orange-red to bluish-red. It evokes intensity of color and emotion.


Crimson is another common synonym for red that refers specifically to deep, rich reds with a blue undertone. Crimson sits on the cooler end of the red color spectrum.

Crimson often symbolizes prestige and opulence. For example:

The prince wore a cloak of crimson velvet decorated with gold embroidery.
The crimson curtains and Persian rugs gave the room a luxurious feel.

Crimson can also represent blood, violence, and death. For instance:

The knight’s armor was stained crimson after the brutal battle.

In summary, crimson describes darker, cooler reds associated with luxury but also violence.


The gemstone ruby provides another vivid synonym for red. Ruby red refers to the specific red color of ruby gemstones, which is caused by the presence of chromium.

Ruby red is typically used to describe energizing, exciting shades of red with a bluish tone:

Her nails shone with ruby red polish.
The daring lady drove a ruby red sports car.

The color ruby red is sometimes used in a figurative sense to represent passion, emotion, or vitality:

Ruby red lips
Her ruby red cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

Overall, ruby red refers to the red color of actual ruby gemstones. It also more broadly means rich, bluish red hues that are lively and intense.


Carmine is a vivid red with a slightly purplish tinge. Like crimson, carmine sits on the cooler end of the red color spectrum. However, carmine has a higher amount of blue compared to crimson’s slight blue undertone.

Carmine was historically produced from a pigment made from crushed cochineal insects. Today, carmine coloring is synthetically produced. Carmine shares associations with prestige and luxury similar to crimson:

The duchess wore a gown of carmine satin encrusted with diamonds and pearls.

However, carmine can also have connotations of being overdone and overly showy:

She applied gaudy, carmine lipstick and rouge before the party.

In summary, carmine refers to purplish or bluish shades of red that are elegant yet intense.


Vermilion describes reds with a strong orange tone. It sits on the warm end of the red color spectrum near scarlet. However, vermilion is slightly more orange than scarlet.

Vermilion often symbolizes energy, vigor, and cheerfulness. For example:

vermilion streamers decorated the hall for the lively celebration
The dancers wore vermilion skirts that swirled as they spun.

Historically, vermilion pigment was made from the mineral cinnabar. Today, vermilion typically refers to any warm, orangey shade of red.


Magenta is a vivid purple-red color. It is located near the center of the red spectrum, balancing blue and orange undertones.

Magenta is a tertiary color made from mixing red and violet pigments. It does not occur in the visible spectrum of rainbow colors. Magenta was first introduced as a synthetic dye in 1859.

Today, magenta represents energetic, bold shades of purplish red:

Hot magenta lights lit up the stage during the rock concert.
She dyed her hair a shocking magenta shade.

Magenta is strongly associated with color printing, due to its use in photographic and print processes along with cyan and yellow to formfull color images. It is an integral color in color photography and digital imagery.


Sangria describes a red color tinted with purple, inspired by the Spanish red wine punch of the same name. Sangria has a dark, reddish-purple color.

The color sangria is often used in fashion to represent bold, fun red hues:

The model wore a sangria-colored wrap dress and strappy sandals.
The sangria handbag complemented her purple eyeshadow.

Sangria’s purple tint gives it a sense of sophistication and glamour. It pairs well with other rich colors like gold and plum. Overall, sangria is a striking blend of red and purple.


Maroon is a darker, brownish-red color. It is created by adding brown or black to red.

Maroon is associated with autumn colors, so it is often used to represent the fall season:

She wore maroon pants and a chunky maroon sweater to embrace the fall weather.
The maroon maple leaves drifted from the trees.

Maroon is also commonly used in clothing for schools, teams, or companies. It represents tradition, distinction, and formality:

The university president wore a maroon academic robe for graduation.
The bridesmaids wore elegant maroon gowns at the formal wedding.

Overall, maroon is associated with autumn, academia, and dignified formality. It provides a mature, traditional shade of reddish-brown.


Cherry describes the deep red color of ripe cherries. It is similar to crimson but slightly darker and less blue/purplish.

Cherry red commonly represents plump, delicious red fruits:

We picked baskets full of glossy, cherry red apples from the orchard.
Rows of cherry red strawberries filled the garden.

Cherry red can also signify ripeness, health, or vitality:

The baby had round, cherry red cheeks.
After hiking in the fresh air, she had a cherry red glow.

This deep red color is often seen as inviting, tempting, and pleasant. Overall, cherry red conveys ripeness, health, and delicious appeal.


Cinnamon describes a soft reddish-brown hue, like the spice cinnamon. It has a warm, orangey undertone but is lighter and less intense than bold oranges and reds.

Cinnamon is associated with comfort and coziness:

The cafe had rustic wood furniture and cinnamon walls, creating a welcoming atmosphere.
She decorated with cinnamon candles that gave off a soothing cinnamon scent.

As a spice, cinnamon also represents warmth, liveliness, and flavor:

The cinnamon dusted pastries filled the bakery with spicy aroma.
He caught a whiff of cinnamon as the pie came fresh from the oven.

Overall, cinnamon is a muted, rustic shade of red that provides comfort and warm flavor.


Russet describes a reddish brown color, like russet potatoes. It is a dull, rustic shade of red with a rough, natural texture.

Russet represents rural simplicity and humility:

The farmer wore russet work boots, denim overalls, and a straw hat.
Rows of russet red potato plants covered the fields.

Russet can also symbolize autumn colors and harvest time:

Russet maple leaves crunched underfoot on the forest trail.

Overall, russet conveys rustic, rural simplicity in a reddish-brown tone.


Rosy describes the soft, pale pinkish-red color of a rose. It has a delicate, feminine, and romantic quality.

Things described as rosy represent health, attractiveness, or optimism:

After exercise, she had a rosy glow in her cheeks.
The future looks rosy for the new company.

Rosy also connects to the scent and beauty of roses:

A vase of roses perfumed the room with their rosy scent.

Overall, rosy is a light pinkish-red that represents gentle beauty, health, and positivity.


Auburn portrays reddish-brown shades with golden undertones, like the color of auburn hair. It is rustic like russet but warmer and more luminous.

Auburn represents autumn richness and warmth:

The hillside was dotted with the auburn hues of fall foliage.
She had natural auburn hair that glowed in the sun.

Auburn also connects to comfort, tradition, and nostalgia:

The library had vintage leather chairs and golden auburn wood shelves.

Overall, auburn conveys autumnal depth, tradition, and luminous warmth in its reddish, golden hues.


Burgundy describes very dark, reddish-brown shades inspired by the color of burgundy wine. It has a rich, intense, wine-like depth.

Burgundy represents elegance, prestige, and luxury:

The mayor wore a burgundy suit with a black tie for the press conference.
The gala featured burgundy velvet drapes and gilded chandeliers for lavish ambiance.

It can also signify power and ambition:

Donning his burgundy home jersey, the star quarterback led his team to victory.

Overall, burgundy conveys intensity, ambition, wealth, and refined sophistication.


Oxblood describes very dark reddish-brown hues similar to burgundy. However, oxblood has a slightly muddier, earthier tone.

Oxblood represents rugged durability:

The classic leather Oxford shoes were an oxblood red.
His oxblood leather jacket had faded after years of adventure.

It can also suggest masculinity and traditional refined style:

He wore an oxblood club tie to the Ivy League reunion dinner.

In summary, oxblood conveys rugged, traditional elegance in its dark, earthy red-brown tones.


Terracotta describes the reddish-orange hue of fired terracotta clay. It provides a glossy, earthy shade of red.

Terracotta symbolizes baked earth, creativity, and handcrafted artistry:

The artisan sculpted the vase from terracotta clay.
Terracotta pots displayed young tomato plants.

Terracotta also connects to Spanish architecture in its warm tones:

The terra cotta rooftops and whitewashed walls created a charming Spanish village.

Overall, terracotta represents the arts, crafts, and Spanish culture through its fired reddish clay tones.


Cerise refers to purplish or brownish shades of red, inspired by the French word for “cherry.” It sits between crimson and magenta on the red color wheel.

Like cherries, cerise symbolizes ripe, luscious fruit:

The dessert was topped with cerise berry compote.

Cerise also connotes femininity, romance, and glamour:

She wore a flowing cerise gown to the gala.
The bridesmaids carried cerise roses.

Overall, cerise captures both the literal red of ripe cherries and the symbolic red of love and femininity.


Cardinal red describes the vivid red shade worn by Catholic cardinals. It is a shade between scarlet and crimson.

Cardinal red represents status, authority, and religious devotion:

The cardinal led Mass, dressed in his scarlet cardinal robe.

It can also indicate strong loyalty or conviction:

As a diehard fan, Brad wears the team’s cardinal red jersey to every game.

Overall, cardinal red conveys piety, conviction, and authority in its bright, rich red hue.

Fire Engine Red

Fire engine red is an intense, luminous shade inspired by the red paint on fire trucks. It represents danger, urgency, and emergency response.

Stop signs and fire engine red lights warned drivers of danger ahead.
The bright fire engine red fire truck raced to put out the fire.

This eye-catching red demands attention and quick reaction. It provides a blaring, alarming shade of red.


Rose describes the soft, light pinkish red shade of rose blossoms. It is feminine, romantic, and associated with beauty.

She blushed a delicate rose pink.
The rose wedding bouquet complemented the bride’s rose gown.

Rose can also reference the sweet floral scent of roses. Overall, rose red conveys gentle, feminine charm.


Raspberry describes rich reddish-purple shades inspired by ripe raspberries. It is similar to sangria, but slightly darker.

She painted her bedroom walls a lush raspberry hue.