1712, "pure red dyestuff obtained from cochineal," from French carmin (12c.), from Medieval Latin carminium, from Arabic qirmiz "crimson" (see kermes, also compare crimson (n.)). Form influenced in Latin by minium "red lead, cinnabar," a word said to be of Iberian origin. As an adjective from 1737; as a color name from 1799. Related: Carminic.