chro·mat·ic | \krō-ˈma-tik \

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chromatic


chromatically \-ti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb
chromaticism \-ˈma-tə-ˌsi-zəm \ noun

Examples of chromatic in a Sentence


the strikingly chromatic paintings of Matisse and the other Fauvists

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Look for splashes of color at Milwaukee's lakefront on Aug. 12 when chromatic boats race against each other during the Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival. Stefany Zamora, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Colorful boats are the big draw at the Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival," 31 July 2017 With a seemingly longer arc, the sun somehow enriches colors in new ways, more saturated and chromatic. David Hansen,, "Artist Elizabeth Bridy kept trying, finally winning a spot at the Festival of Arts," 19 June 2018 Getting glam ready inside one of the Beekman Hotel's turret penthouse suites, 10 stories above Lower Manhattan, Ferguson began by brightening and sculpting her freckled complexion with a veil of Glamglow's chromatic Gravitymud Firming Treatment. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "How Model Hannah Ferguson Got Ready for Vogue’s Pre-Met Gala Party," 6 May 2018 And look at Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki), two characters who are far more mono-chromatic in the novel. Simon Abrams, The Hollywood Reporter, "Dissecting 'Ready Player One' and Its Biggest Problem," 1 Apr. 2018 To unify the images as a series, each person was assigned a particular color for their wardrobe, which, on its own was complementary to the subject, but when viewed across each cover, contributed to a vibrant chromatic spectrum. Wilder Davies, Time, "The Story Behind the 2018 TIME 100 Covers," 19 Apr. 2018 Grotjahn's geometric abstractions employ disjointed vanishing points, the kind originally invented to create a convincing figurative illusion but here swallowing up visual energy as if some vividly chromatic black hole. Christopher Knight,, "MOCA still mum about curator's firing, despite crucial questions and too few answers," 20 Mar. 2018 The school’s approach to music was hidebound, but Debussy wanted to reinvent it, creating shimmering, chromatic sound pictures based on unusual scales and chords. The Economist, "A biography of Debussy explores his genius and flaws," 22 Feb. 2018 Perceived as an example of process art, which emerges from its own method of making and the physical properties of materials used along the way, Kaneko's ode to chromatic joy is the result of a rarefied studio practice. Steven Litt,, "Akron Art Museum celebrates lyrical abstractions of Jun Kaneko in show opening today (photos)," 17 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chromatic

Statistics for chromatic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chromatic

The first known use of chromatic was in 1630

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chromatic

What made you want to look up chromatic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!