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From Middle French alkermès, probably from Spanish alquermes, from Arabic اَلْقِرْمِز (al-qirmiz), from Persian کرمست (kirmist), from Middle Persian, from Sanskrit.



alkermes (uncountable)

  1. The desiccated bodies of certain insects (female Kermes ilicis and Kermes vermilio), which live on the kermes oak, formerly much used as a material for dye and a medicinal ingredient; also a given mixture, preparation etc. containing such insects.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy, 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , II.5.1.v:
      But alkermes many except against: in some cases it may help, if it be good []
  2. A red Italian alcoholic liqueur.