being of many or various colors.
decorated or executed in many colors, as a statue, vase, or mural.

verb (used with object), pol·y·chromed, pol·y·chrom·ing.

to paint in many or various colors.


a polychrome object or work.

Origin of polychrome

1795–1805; earlier polychrom < German < Greek polýchrōmos many-colored. See poly-, -chrome
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polychrome

Historical Examples of polychrome

  • The screen fluttered for a moment with polychrome colors and cleared.

    Cubs of the Wolf

    Raymond F. Jones

  • The principle seems to be that of polychrome painting, also applied in sculpture.

  • "All right," said Button-Bright; but Polychrome didn't know whether it was all right or not.

    The Road to Oz

    L. Frank Baum

  • "So am I," said Polychrome, bending gracefully to pat Toto's head.

    The Road to Oz

    L. Frank Baum

  • The local Gallo-Romans had used the polychrome lava as decoration.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals

    Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly

British Dictionary definitions for polychrome



having various or changing colours; polychromatic
made with or decorated in various colours


a work of art or artefact in many colours
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 polychrome

"having many colors," 1816, from French polychrome, from Latinized form of Greek polykhromos "many-colored" (see poly- + chrome). As a noun from 1800. Related: Polychromic; polychromatic; polychromate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper