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 In the past 15 years, only three frogs have been found with this coloration. Eli Francovich, The Seattle Times, "Rare blue-spotted northern leopard frog found in Eastern Washington," 30 Sep. 2019 Scientists curious about how this alternative coloration was working out ran a series of experiments, and reported some surprising results last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Veronique Greenwood, New York Times, "For Poison Dart Frogs, Markings Matter When It Comes to Survival," 12 Sep. 2019 This tree also comes ready with 900 lights meant to fit in with its coloration. Mark Brezinski, USA TODAY, "10 top-rated artificial Christmas trees you can buy on Amazon," 13 Nov. 2019 Its coloration is similar as well, although possibly slightly more red. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Comet from another Solar System looks a lot like our own," 14 Oct. 2019 But the zebra, who Liu’s Maasai guide named Tira, owes its eye-catching coloration to a rare genetic mutation called pseudomelanism, a condition that changes the stripe pattern of animals, biologist Ren Larison told the outlet. Fox News, "Rare polka-dotted baby zebra discovered in Kenya, incredible photos show," 25 Sep. 2019 Little is known about its coloration, though an illustration shows a white animal with a red splotch on its back that looks a bit like a maple leaf. NBC News, "Millions of years ago, this 'frozen dragon' flying reptile as big as a fighter jet soared over Earth," 12 Sep. 2019 Martin Carrillo’s sound, Brandon Baruch’s lighting and Ann Closs-Farley’s costumes are all first-rate, and Ben Rock’s video and projection design are virtuosic components that lend depth and coloration to Song Yi Park’s purposely stark set. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Another picture of Dorian Gray hits the stage, and this one is a ‘Wilde’ ride," 30 Aug. 2019 Another African vulture at the Safari Park, the palm-nut vulture, can be mistaken for a kind of fishing eagle, with its stout neck and white-and-black coloration. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Devoted parents, they purify the environment: Meet the vultures," 30 Aug. 2019

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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coloration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce coloration (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on coloration

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coloration

Spanish Central: Translation of coloration

Nglish: Translation of coloration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coloration for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about coloration

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