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

Stacking up the reds, blues, and yellows produces the muddy brown coloration of lobsters in the wild. Robinson Russell, National Geographic, "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy," 19 June 2018 With characters—aunts and uncles, careless teachers, indifferent construction workers, bosses, girls, and thugs!— people who looked and felt real, if not a little subdued, in their colorations. Tom Chiarella, Popular Mechanics, "Stan Lee Taught Me to Love Storytelling," 13 Nov. 2018 The ghost lobster’s look is likely due to a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a partial loss of pigmentation in an animal, resulting in white, pale and patchy coloration. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Maine fisherman catches rare 'ghost lobster'," 30 Aug. 2018 The limited Hermès edition 90cm x 90cm silk scarf is printed in Lustig Cohen's original coloration (crème, jaune, and rose) for Centered Rhyme. Sarah Bray, Town & Country, "Hermès' Newest Scarf Benefits Philip Johnson's Glass House," 8 May 2017 But recently, Russell’s Instagram post featuring Lucky’s unusual coloration resurfaced and is making waves online. Robinson Russell, National Geographic, "Why This Rare Lobster Is Colored Like Blue Cotton Candy," 19 June 2018 Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin. Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include: Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "Here’s how to identify (and get rid of) venomous spiders in your home," 20 June 2018 Shad patterns are among the top colorations for these lures--the shad spawn is likely gearing up right now, and these abundant baitfish will become the primary food of bass feeding after the long hiatus during their nesting period. Frank Sargeant,, "Time for post spawn bassing on Alabama lakes," 25 Apr. 2018 Sunflower blossoms vary greatly, from the traditional with yellow outer portions and brown centers to those with orange, red and maroon coloration. Tom Maccubbin,, "Enjoy sunflowers almost any time of the year," 6 June 2018

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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Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

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The first known use of coloration was in 1626

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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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a shady place in a garden or forest

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