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)

Keep scrolling for more

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


the strikingly chromatic paintings of Matisse and the other Fauvists

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With only 12 notes in a chromatic octave, the quest to find new ways to construct melodies in pop songs has become ever harder. M.h., The Economist, "The vexed question of samples and songwriting credits," 31 July 2019 Tetris Effect is still Tetris filtered through a heady, sincere blend of hyper-chromatic visuals and plaintive electronic music. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Tetris Effect remains transcendent on PC," 24 July 2019 Behind her, the orchestra traded in lush cinematic fantasies, inquisitive wind and brass solos, and dark chromatic sequences. Zoë Madonna,, "Boston Symphony Orchestra begins Tanglewood season in style," 7 July 2019 But being colorful in metal really stands out, since black is sort of the defining anti-chromatic aesthetic of the genre. John Adamian,, "Baroness bringing its colorful metal to the Webster," 5 July 2019 From gazing upon chromatic, steaming lakes to soaking in a thermal bath, Icelandic visits are impacted by the country's powerful natural forces. Rick Steves, USA TODAY, "Geothermal baths and beyond: Rick Steves' guide to Iceland's steamiest sites," 25 June 2019 The delicate coloration of the street in the background (Winogrand’s capacity for delicacy is a whole subject unto itself) supports the whiteness like a chromatic plinth. Mark Feeney,, "Garry Winogrand, that master of black-and-white, was a master of color, too," 20 June 2019 This one, Pastorale (1963), also has a chromatic sibling, unfortunately not present in the show: the aforementioned Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point (1963). Stephen Ellis, The New York Review of Books, "Willem de Kooning: Acrobat with a Paint Brush," 1 June 2019 Thus, the chromatic number of the plane is at least 2. Quanta Magazine, "Four Is Not Enough," 18 June 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

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chromatic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chromatic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chromatic

Spanish Central: Translation of chromatic

Nglish: Translation of chromatic for Spanish Speakers

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 wrong name or inappropriate designation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!