chro·​mat·​ic | \ krō-ˈma-tik How to pronounce chromatic (audio) \

Definition of chromatic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or giving all the tones of the chromatic scale
b : characterized by frequent use of accidentals
2a : of or relating to color or color phenomena or sensations
b : highly colored
3 : of or relating to chroma



Definition of chromatic (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from chromatic


chromatically \ krō-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce chromatic (audio) \ adverb
chromaticism \ krō-​ˈma-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce chromatic (audio) \ noun

Examples of chromatic in a Sentence

Adjective the strikingly chromatic paintings of Matisse and the other Fauvists
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Petit-Frère’s keen chromatic sense comes through in the eyewear collection’s dusty mauve and sage green variations. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 6 May 2021 Celebrities are already on board with the upbeat creations, from Gal Gadot in Gabriela Hearst’s crochet dress to Julia Garner in Christopher John Roger’s chromatic number to Gabrielle Union in Caroline Constas’s splashy frock. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2021 Complete graphs with an odd number of vertices have the maximum chromatic index allowed by the Erdős-Faber-Lovász conjecture. Quanta Magazine, 5 Apr. 2021 The formula intensely targets grey, brown, yellow, red, and violet chromatic disturbances that can dull skin's natural light and boosts the reflection of light from the skin, illuminating it. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 Jesus’ twelve month long victory parade that battered and upended the dogmas of Brazilian soccer and delivered high drama of an extraordinary chromatic intensity had become an unmatchable paradigm. Samindra Kunti, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2021 But like Brahms’ chromatic harmonies, nothing ever truly resolves. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2020 The key to pleasing Jenna peony-wise is mastering the chromatic subtleties of the trendy flower. Rory Satran, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2020 Registering the jittery chromatic harmonies and occasional underlying structures—ghosts of geometry—takes time. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just off the entry, a signature James Turrell ovoid wall sculpture greets visitors with a dreamy chromatic display, the first of many personal artistic accents woven throughout her home. Mike Rose, cleveland, 4 Aug. 2020 Abels’ score is an insinuating amalgam of blues, African chromatics and old-Hollywood atmosphere compete with choral exhortations (sung in Swahili) to run for your life. Michael Phillips,, 13 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chromatic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chromatic


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1708, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chromatic


borrowed from Medieval Latin chrōmaticus, borrowed from Greek chrōmatikós "of color (in rhetoric), of the chromatic scale," from chrōmat-, chrôma "skin, complexion, color, the chromatic scale" + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at -chrome


derivative of chromatic entry 1

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Time Traveler for chromatic

Time Traveler

The first known use of chromatic was in 1630

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Statistics for chromatic

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chromatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for chromatic



English Language Learners Definition of chromatic

music : of or relating to a musical scale that has all semitones


chro·​mat·​ic | \ krō-ˈmat-ik How to pronounce chromatic (audio) \

Medical Definition of chromatic

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by color or color phenomena or sensations chromatic perception chromatic stimuli
2 : capable of being colored by staining agents chromatic substances

More from Merriam-Webster on chromatic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chromatic

Nglish: Translation of chromatic for Spanish Speakers


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