[kroh-mat-ik, kruh-]


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 formschro·mat·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·chro·mat·ic, adjectivenon·chro·mat·i·cal·ly, adverbun·chro·mat·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chromatic

Contemporary Examples of chromatic

Historical Examples of chromatic

  • 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.


    Elmer W. Cavins

  • Certainly his tonalities are on the other side of diatonic and chromatic.


    James Huneker

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

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

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann

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 ita chromatic harmonica
  3. of or relating to chromaticismCompare diatonic
Derived Formschromatically, adverbchromaticism, noun

Word Origin for chromatic

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

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

chromatic in Medicine




Relating to color or colors.
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.

chromatic in Science



Relating to color or colors.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.