chro·​mato·​gram krō-ˈma-tə-ˌgram How to pronounce chromatogram (audio)
: the pattern formed on an adsorbent medium by the layers of components separated by chromatography
: a time-based graphic record (as of concentration of eluted materials) of a chromatographic separation

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The end readout is various peaks on a gas chromatogram, with each peak having a unique mass spectrum, allowing for the unambiguous identification of specific compounds. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 15 Apr. 2022 The chromatograms that compare this rum to very old stock (like Port Mourant 33 Years Old) are uncannily similar. Christopher Null, WIRED, 8 Apr. 2015

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

Word History


borrowed from German Chromatogramm, from chromato- chromato- + -gramm -gram

Note: Term introduced by the Russian botanist Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet (Mixail Semënovič Cvet, in German publications "M. Tswett," 1872-1919) in "Physikalisch-chemische Studien über die Chlorophyll. Die Adsorptionen," Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft, Band 24 (1906), p. 322: "Wird eine petrolätherishe Chlorophyllösung durch eine Säule eines Adsorptionsmittels durchfiltriert …, so werden die Farbstoffe gemäss der Adsorptionsreihe von oben nach unten in verschieden gefärbten Zonen auseinandergelegt, indem die stärker adsorbierten Farbstoffe die schwächer zurückgehaltenen weiter nach unten verdrängen ….Wie die Lichtstrahlen im Spektrum, so werden in der Calciumkarbonatsäule die verschiedenen Komponenten eines Farbstoffgemisches gesetzmässig auseindergelegt, und lassen sich darin qualitativ und auch quantitativ bestimmen. Ein solches Präparat nenne ich ein Chromatogramm und die entsprechende Methode, die chromatographische Methode." ("If a solution of chlorophyll in petroleum ether is filtered through a column of an adsorbent … then the pigments are dispersed, according to the adsorption series, from top to bottom in differently colored zones, as the more strongly adsorbed pigments displace further downward the more weakly retained ones …Like light rays in a spectrum, so the different components of a mixture of pigments are dispersed in the calcium carbonate column following a set pattern and can be determined both qualitatively and quantitatively. I call such a preparation a chromatogram and the corresponding method, the chromatographic method.")

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chromatogram was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near chromatogram

Cite this Entry

“Chromatogram.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


chro·​mato·​gram krō-ˈmat-ə-ˌgram, krə- How to pronounce chromatogram (audio)
: the pattern formed on the adsorbent medium by the layers of components separated by chromatography
: a time-based graphic record (as of concentration of eluted materials) of a chromatographic separation

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