the dried bodies of a female scale insect, which are crushed to yield cochineal dye.
a dye similar to cochineal made from the oak kermes insect (see kermes).
2 (cochineal insect) the scale insect that is used for cochineal, native to Mexico and formerly widely cultivated on cacti.
Dactylopius coccus, family Dactylopiidae, suborder Homoptera
late 16th century: from French cochenille or Spanish cochinilla, from Latin coccinus 'scarlet', from Greek kokkos 'berry' (because the insect bodies were originally mistaken for grains or berries). Compare with coccus and kermes