col·​or·​a·​tion | \ ˌkə-lə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce coloration (audio) \

Definition of coloration

1a : the state of having color the dark coloration of his skin
b : use or choice of colors (as by an artist)
c : arrangement of colors the coloration of a butterfly's wing
2a : characteristic quality the newspapers … took on the former coloration of the magazine— L. B. Seltzer
b : aspect suggesting an attitude the chameleon talent for taking on the intellectual coloration of whatever idea he happened to fasten onto— Budd Schulberg
3 : subtle variation of intensity or quality of tone a wide range of coloration from the orchestra

Examples of coloration in a Sentence

the coloration of a flower the bright yellow coloration of the curtains wine glasses with circle designs and blue and green colorations He attempted to give a religious coloration to the war.
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Recent Examples on the Web That would help validate a recent theory for its coloration, which posits that the red color is a sunburn of sorts. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Juno Delivers Stunning New Views of Great Red Spot," 13 July 2017 The coloration was done by burning the wood to give it a darker color, then sanding away the parts that needed to be lighter. Savero Avila, ajc, "Georgia woodworker turns logs into beautiful creations," 23 Jan. 2021 Warner used that dramatic topography to his benefit, yielding a place whose architecture ebbs and flows with the siting and coloration of the ground below it. Lauren Jones, House Beautiful, "This Seaside, Hawaiian Retreat by Walker Warner and Nicole Hollis Is Set Up Like a Small Village," 21 Jan. 2021 The sites where the most Fritillaria plants had been harvested were also the places where the plant’s coloration mimicked its backdrop most convincingly. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Medicinal Plant May Have Evolved Camouflage to Evade Humans," 24 Nov. 2020 Changes in coloration will also likely depend on the animal’s temperature-regulation system—with cold-blooded creatures growing generally lighter and birds and mammals showing a wider range of outcomes. Sam Kean, Science | AAAS, "Will climate change make animals darker—or lighter?," 30 Dec. 2020 The green bottle fly is slightly larger and looks downright beautiful in comparison with its metallic blue-green and bronze coloration. René A. Guzman,, "The buzz about San Antonio’s houseflies is that they suck — big time," 9 Dec. 2020 Instead, the coloration comes from a genetic condition called leucism, which is a partial loss of pigmentation that still leaves dark coloring in the animal’s eyes, tail hair and spots. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "World’s Only Known White Giraffe Now Has a GPS Tracker," 27 Nov. 2020 Stevens has measured disruptive coloration in shore crabs, which come in a wide range of colors and live in many different habitats. Mary Bates, Animals, "Which optical illusions can animals see?," 24 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coloration.' 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 coloration

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for coloration

borrowed from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Late Latin colōrātiōn-, colōrātiō, from Latin colōrāre "to color entry 2" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Time Traveler for coloration Time Traveler

The first known use of coloration was in 1626

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Statistics for coloration

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coloration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for coloration



English Language Learners Definition of coloration

biology : the color or patterns of color on an animal or plant
: the colors of an object (such as a piece of artwork or furniture)
: a quality or characteristic


col·​or·​ation | \ ˌkə-lə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce coloration (audio) \

Kids Definition of coloration

: use or arrangement of colors or shades : coloring The monarch butterfly is well-known for its orange and black coloration.

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