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 One perennial that is commonly available and universally liked is the threadleaf bluestar, Amsonia hubrichtii, which sports powder blue blooms in spring but is most valued for the fine texture of its foliage and golden coloration in the fall. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "It’s time to plan the new season’s garden, and it pays to be picky," 11 Mar. 2020 Over the years, the program has developed a database to identify white sharks based on distinctive markings, scars and coloration. Ed Killer, USA TODAY, "'Massive' 20-foot-long great white shark off Florida coast leaves scuba divers in awe," 13 Feb. 2020 Gantz bred a round of fruit flies that had been engineered to carry both the Crispr machinery and a single copy of a recessive gene for yellow coloration. Jennifer Kahn, New York Times, "The Gene Drive Dilemma: We Can Alter Entire Species, but Should We?," 8 Jan. 2020 Collins says jigs with blue coloration have been most effective. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: What’s being caught on Alabama waters?," 29 Nov. 2019 Turner believes these are the traces of lead chromate, a compound manufacturers added to plastics decades ago to give them a vibrant yellow or red coloration. Rob Arnold, National Geographic, "New plastic pollution formed by fire looks like rocks," 16 Aug. 2019 Something always seemed amiss there to anyone who looked very closely: The craquelure (fine cracks in the paint or varnish) is more intense and the coloration different above a horizontal line (green leaves are suddenly brown, for instance). Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Bruegel’s “The Wedding Dance” Revealed’ Review: Revelry Restored," 21 Jan. 2020 From there, Andersson says the mutation was most likely spread around the world by livestock owners who appreciated the novelty of the birds’ coloration. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "This chicken has black bones, organs, and meat: Here’s why.," 16 Sep. 2019 And to top it off, this individual had a rare, mostly white coloration on its body to go with its typical dashing red crest and mustache. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: The sighting of a 'ghost bird' along the Milwaukee River is a double treat," 12 Feb. 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

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coloration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 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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