• synonyms


noun Cell Biology.
  1. the readily stainable substance of a cell nucleus, consisting of DNA, RNA, and various proteins, that forms chromosomes during cell division.
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Origin of chromatin

First recorded in 1880–85; chromat- + -in2
Related formschro·ma·tin·ic, adjectivechro·ma·toid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chromatin

Historical Examples

  • While these changes are going on in the chromatin the Amphiaster forms.

    The Ethics of Medical Homicide and Mutilation

    Austin O'Malley

  • Of all parts of the cell this chromatin is the most remarkable.

  • Hence the egg must get rid of still more of its chromatin material.

  • This we can only believe to be the result of a differentiation in their chromatin material.

  • The first indication of the cell division is shown by the chromatin fibres.

British Dictionary definitions for chromatin


  1. cytology the part of the nucleus that consists of DNA and proteins, forms the chromosomes, and stains with basic dyesSee also euchromatin, heterochromatin
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Derived Formschromatinic, adjectivechromatoid, adjective
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 chromatin


protoplasm in cell nuclei, 1882, from German, coined 1879 by German anatomist Walther Flemming (1843-1905), from Latinized form of Greek khromat-, the correct combinational form of khroma "color" (see chroma) + chemical suffix -in (2). Related: Chromatid. Cf. chromosome.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chromatin in Medicine


  1. A complex of nucleic acids and proteins in the cell nucleus that stains readily with basic dyes and condenses to form chromosomes during cell division.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chromatin in Science


  1. The substance distributed in the nucleus of a cell that condenses to form chromosomes during cell division. It consists mainly of DNA and proteins called histones.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.