Red Sea

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From Middle English Red See, Reede See, Rede See, reade sea, from Old English Rēad Sǣ, a calque of Latin Mare Rubrum, itself a calque of Ancient Greek Ἐρυθρᾱ̀ θάλασσα (Eruthrā̀ thálassa); equivalent to red +‎ sea.

Proper noun[edit]

the Red Sea

  1. A long, narrow sea between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula; links the Suez Canal with the Arabian Sea.
  2. (US politics) The states of the western and southern United States which consistently vote Republican in presidential elections.

Usage notes[edit]



Red Sea (plural Red Seas)

  1. A great quantity of blood.
    • 1598(?), George Chapman, Hero & Leander, iii. 323:
      And all this while the red sea of her blood Ebd with Leander.
    • 1864, James Russell Lowell, Fireside Travels, section 219:
      The ghost of a creed [] may be laid, after all, only in a Red Sea of blood.
    • 1994, Erlene Stetson, Linda David, Glorying in Tribulation: The Life Work of Sojourner Truth, MSU Press, →ISBN, page 1980:
      Titus argued that “the promised land” could now “by their own efforts, be obtained”: Slavery has been swallowed up in a Red Sea of blood, and the slave has emerged from the conflict of races transformed from a chattel to a man.
    • 2009, Leane Owens, The Raven's War, AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 239:
      When her shoulder was free she screamed at the sharp sting of pain and collapsed to her knees where her own blood gathered in a warm puddle —a red sea of her pain and misery. Gravity increased and the ground, all though placid and still ...
    • 2015, P. A. Williams, The Tides of Time, page 99:
      Sissoo feasted upon the flesh as the silky smooth red sea of blood trickled down his cheek as the lifeless body of Catherine Babyish lay amongst a red stained linen sheet drenched with her own blood as her scared dead eyes stared into the shadows above.
  2. (slang, vulgar, in particular) (A quantity of) blood discharged through the vagina during menstruation.
    • 2001, Shoni Labowitz, God, Sex And The Women Of The Bible, page 62:
      Woman's menstrual blood, as symbolized in the "red carpet" or "red-sea of life," paved the way for the processions of queens, kings, brides and heroes.
    • 2006, Laura Goodman, A Cleaning Manual for Dirty Divas, page 14:
      Hydrogen peroxide: Use 3% (the kind you use for cuts) on the stains you get on your sheets when you're flagging and your lover has parted your red sea.
    • 2015, I. K. Fleming, The Rise and Fall of Paradise:
      The wet dust found at the bottom of Lilith's lunar Red Sea is menstrual blood, simply, or, in the designation of the new theology, "filth." Lilith, in short, is an unsuitable wife for Adam because she menstruates.
    • 2016, Carrie Aarons, Lost, →ISBN:
      After disposing of the ruined boxers, and checking to make sure my makeshift bed isn't covered in my Red Sea, I wad up several balls of toilet paper and coat the bottom of a new pair of boxers with them. It'll have to do for now.
    • 2021, Raynesha Pittman, Carl Weber's Kingpins: West Coast, Urban Books, →ISBN:
      "Ay, I'm throwing all this shit in a bag and taking it to the garbage. I don't know too much about the health of pussy, especially Asian wonton-soup pussy. I've swum in the Red Sea a few times to know blood clots the size of plums."
  3. (more generally) A great quantity of reddish liquid, such as wine.
    • 1645, Francis Quarles, The Shepheards Oracles: Delivered in Certain Eglogues, vii, 83:
      Oyl-steep'd Anchovie, landed from his brine, Came freely swimming in red seas of wine.
    • 1821, Walter Scott, Kenilworth. The pirate, published 1877, page 15:
      [] will not get them gone for plain English, we will have one of Father Bacon's pupils from Oxford, to conjure [troublesome thoughts] away with logic and with Hebrew — Or, what say you to laying them in a glorious red sea of claret, my noble guest?