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[kroh-mat-ik, kruh-] /kroʊˈmæt ɪk, krə-/
pertaining to color or colors.
  1. involving a modification of the normal scale by the use of accidentals.
  2. progressing by semitones, especially to a tone having the same letter name, as in C to C sharp.
Origin of chromatic
1590-1600; < Greek chrōmatikós, equivalent to chrōmat- (see chromato-) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
chromatically, adverb
nonchromatic, adjective
nonchromatically, adverb
unchromatic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chromatic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In these chromatic displays, red is the colour that predominates.

  • Similarly the g in gnostic, the e in eulogy, p in pneumonia, the h in chromatic.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • Certainly his tonalities are on the other side of diatonic and chromatic.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • The sea that morning passed through a succession of chromatic changes.

    Java, Facts and Fancies

    Augusta de Wit
  • Which fingering of the chromatic scale the is most conducive to speed and accuracy?

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • The same may be said for the tests of the chromatic sense, etc.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • These designs also reveal the effect of the education of the chromatic sense.

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • By varying the shape of the aperture we alter the form of the chromatic image.

  • Don't speak of your mother as if she were a chromatic scale.

    Mrs. Geoffrey Duchess
British Dictionary definitions for chromatic


of, relating to, or characterized by a colour or colours
  1. involving the sharpening or flattening of notes or the use of such notes in chords and harmonic progressions
  2. of or relating to the chromatic scale or an instrument capable of producing it: a chromatic harmonica
  3. of or relating to chromaticism Compare diatonic
Derived Forms
chromatically, adverb
chromaticism, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Greek khrōmatikos, from khrōma colour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chromatic

1590s (of music), "progressing by half-tones;" 1831 as "pertaining to color," from Latin chromaticus, from Greek khromatikos "relating to color, suited for color," from khroma (genitive khromatos) "color, complexion, character," but chiefly used metaphorically of embellishments in music, originally "skin, surface" (see chroma).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chromatic in Medicine

chromatic chro·mat·ic (krō-māt'ĭk)

  1. Relating to color or colors.

  2. Produced by or made in a color or colors.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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chromatic in Science
Relating to color or colors.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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