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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for chromatic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of harshness in modulation he knew nothing: his chromatic changes were as soft and flowing as when he kept to the diatonic genus.

    Bach Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • In these chromatic displays, red is the colour that predominates.

  • Behind a screen on the veranda, Butterfly changes her chromatic kimona to one of white silk.

    Stars of the Opera Mabel Wagnalls
  • The sea that morning passed through a succession of chromatic changes.

    Java, Facts and Fancies Augusta de Wit
  • It is customary to show the complementary colours diagrammatically by what is known as the chromatic circle.

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

    The Montessori Method Maria Montessori
  • The great obstacle which long stood in the way of the improvement of refractors was the defect known as "chromatic aberration."

  • By varying the shape of the aperture we alter the form of the chromatic image.

  • Its surface is covered by minute corrugations or furrows, which give a chromatic appearance to the reflected light.

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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