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


the strikingly chromatic paintings of Matisse and the other Fauvists

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Marathi, Hindi, English Punjabi, and Gujarati (all subtitled; turn off the awful English dubbing)—and the arrestingly chromatic visuals. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Netflix’s Sacred Games Is Your Next Binge Watch," 20 July 2018 The dynamics shift dramatically — from strong, full-sail solos by Ms. Mitchell that are bluesy and chromatic and abstract to powerful beats carried by the cello and the cajón. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Nicole Mitchell, an Innovative Flutist With an Afrofuturist Vision," 10 Jan. 2018 The first photo is a sea of chromatic noise, smudged up by noise reduction blur working overtime to produce a somewhat reasonable image. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Google’s Night Sight for Pixel phones will amaze you," 25 Oct. 2018 But with Halpern, the beauty is always in the 360-degree chromatic chaos. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Glamorous Spin on the Glitter Cat-Eye Is a New Party Scene-Stealer," 16 Sep. 2018 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

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

The first known use of chromatic was in 1630

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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

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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