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 chromatically (audio) \ adverb
chromaticism \ krō-​ˈma-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce chromaticism (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 Werner’s chromatic notes intrigued many beyond the mineralogy circles artists including British painter Patrick Smye who charted and illustrated his notations with corresponding tints. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "An 18th-century geologist emerges as 2019’s most insightful color guru," 11 Oct. 2019 This cream specifically targets chromatic disturbances, which cause grey, brown, and red tints in the eye area. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "This New Eye Cream Erases Dark Circles and Smoothes Fine Lines," 2 Apr. 2020 Sandwiched between displays of explosive power and raw virtuosity, this chromatic, twisted melody forever collapsing on itself delivered a slow but potent emotional punch. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra inspires gratitude with performances after Thanksgiving," 2 Dec. 2019 That intense energy comes courtesy of a mix of earthy and citrus notes, like Italian lemon, green leaves, and chromatic sage. Allure, "How Nick Jonas Turned the Craziest Year of His Life Into a Fragrance," 27 Nov. 2019 At times, Soren lighted the surfaces to produce chromatic contrasts between the finger marks and the color tones in the underly images. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Former MTV reporter Tabitha Soren’s ‘Surface Tension’ explores power of touch at Transformer Station," 17 Nov. 2019 His stunning, chromatic work on the floor of the international airport was unveiled at a time when the building was an icon of modernity. Washington Post, "Carlos Cruz-Diez, Venezuelan pioneer of kinetic art, dies at 95," 29 July 2019 Brands could work with color blind populations, fund research to test optimal hues for healthcare environments, or spotlight chromatic solutions to transform urban environments. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "It’s time to retire “color of the year”," 17 Oct. 2019 Madrigals by Carlo Gesualdo stirred the passions with hair-raising chromatic surprises. Washington Post, "Countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork revive music old and new at Library of Congress," 17 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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,, "A composer’s chilling “Get Out” score highlights Chicago’s fall movie season," 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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Cite this Entry

“Chromatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for chromatic


How to pronounce chromatic (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on chromatic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chromatic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chromatic

Spanish Central: Translation of chromatic

Nglish: Translation of chromatic for Spanish Speakers

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