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

Many types of coloration in plants and animals are the result of a network of proteins that activate pigment genes at specific places and times in the body. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Meet the monkeyflower, a weed that may hold the key to zebra stripes and other biological mysteries," 29 Aug. 2019 In their final pre-adult stage, the nymphs take on a red coloration. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "‘This is going to be a bad one’: A new pest is causing quarantines in Va. and Pa.," 26 June 2019 Some adults can take on an orange or pink coloration during certain times of the year. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Nightmare of the iguana: Florida tells homeowners to kill green iguanas 'whenever possible'," 3 July 2019 The toads usually are more brown or tan, but there is a range of coloration that includes the yellowish green of your toad. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Why was the toad just sitting in my backyard for hours?," 5 June 2019 Research has shown that coloration is related to testosterone levels and dominance. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "A Primer to Our Planet of Monkeys," 12 June 2019 The pale giant squirrel (Ratufa affinis) is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, and is generally brown or tan in coloration. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Giant purple squirrels do exist—and they have an odd behavior," 4 Apr. 2019 The delicate coloration of the street in the background (Winogrand’s capacity for delicacy is a whole subject unto itself) supports the whiteness like a chromatic plinth. Mark Feeney,, "Garry Winogrand, that master of black-and-white, was a master of color, too," 20 June 2019 Lobsters are typically reddish brown or greenish brown, and the rare blue coloration of this one comes from a genetic defect that causes the creature to overproduce a particular protein, according to the lobster institute. Michelle Lou, CNN, "A restaurant got a rare blue lobster in its shipment. Instead of cooking it, the owner is donating it to an aquarium," 14 June 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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Statistics for coloration

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for coloration

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

Comments on coloration

What made you want to look up coloration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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