Definition of coloration in English:


(also colouration)


  • 1The appearance of something with regard to colour.

    ‘some bacterial structures take on a purple coloration’
    • ‘In the last book I used the brown coloration: not full color, but monochromatic color, largely because I wanted to create a mood.’
    • ‘But such people love to alter their appearance with bleach and henna and contact lenses of bizarre colouration.’
    • ‘The remaining water was soupy-yellow, and a matching coloration stained the sides of the tub an inch or two above the water.’
    • ‘He wanted to know what was causing the colouration and the reason for it.’
    • ‘The lesions fade gradually in order of appearance, leaving a residual yellow-tan coloration.’
    • ‘And before we go elsewhere, focus on the colors, in particular the distinct colorations of the buildings in the city.’
    • ‘Dyes can provide strong, primary coloration while chemical stains provide ‘earth tone’ colorations.’
    • ‘The lake's deep green coloration derives from its high concentration of cobalt and other minerals, and is particularly striking when the frequent winds bluster the surface into a froth.’
    • ‘Especially stunning are the Tiffany stained glass windows on the east side which have a particularly intense coloration.’
    paint, pigment, colourant, coloration, dye, stain, tint, wash
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    1. 1.1The natural colouring of animals or plants.
      ‘the red coloration of many maples’
      • ‘The bright coloration is usually on the birds' underparts or is hidden when their wings are folded.’
      • ‘Plumage coloration is among the most widespread and conspicuous of ornamental traits in birds.’
      • ‘However, egg coloration has gone through considerable evolution in different species of cowbirds.’
      • ‘The ventral coloration is as distinctive and unique in these whales as fingerprints are in humans.’
      • ‘Bright coloration of males in many animal species has inspired researchers for more than a century.’
      • ‘Broadbills are small to medium-sized birds with a big head, a wide bill and often bright coloration (greens, reds, blues, etc.).’
      • ‘Its natural coloration allows it to blend in seamlessly with its environment, making it more difficult for its prey to visually spot it.’
      • ‘Red coloration is associated with aggression in many animals.’
      • ‘These observations suggest that males may pursue alternative parental and competitive tactics based on their plumage coloration.’
      • ‘Plumage coloration ranges from light or dark brown to gray, often with dark spotted or barred patterns.’
      • ‘We used virtual stickleback males that differed either in red throat coloration, courtship intensity, body size, or in combinations of these traits.’
      • ‘Spot coloration can be red, yellow or orange and can often times be a combination of the three.’
      • ‘When predators are absent, female preference results in the evolution of brighter coloration.’
      • ‘Several representatives of this family of small, diurnal frogs are famous for their bright skin coloration and associated toxins.’
      • ‘The normal head coloration is black, and the body, green with yellow feathers on the chest area.’
      • ‘Plumage coloration, not length or symmetry of tail-streamers, is a sexually selected trait in North American barn swallows.’
      • ‘Electric eels range from gray to brownish-black in color with some yellowish coloration on the anterior ventral portion of the body.’
      • ‘They are rightly named for their brilliant distinct rainbow coloration of blue, red, green, yellow, orange and purple.’
      • ‘This colouration is not always present on the plants and does not correlate with the ability of the root system to survive dehydration.’
      • ‘They do not have the bright coloration typical of some birds.’
      • ‘A striking creature, the hoopoe has bright cinnamon pink coloration and a crest of black-tipped feathers that, when erect, resembles an Indian headdress.’
      • ‘He further enhances the image with color choices that reflect his artistic interests rather than simply imitating the natural coloration of zebras.’
    2. 1.2A scheme of applying colour in art.
      ‘the coloration of the drawing’
      • ‘Robert Hughes, the art critic, has pointed to Matisse, because of the delicacy of the outlining and colouration.’
      • ‘As in Mantegna, whom he admired, Burne-Jones's drawing and coloration are sharp and pellucid.’
      • ‘Black washes can also be applied to mask sharp differences in coloration and bring everything together.’
  • 2The pervading character or tone of something.

    ‘the productions have taken on a political coloration’
    • ‘Since the foundation of the state of Israel, Labour has been central to the Zionist project, giving a democratic and even socialist colouration to what was always a fundamentally reactionary programme.’
    • ‘The decade immediately preceding Picasso's turn to ceramics saw the century-old debate about craft and society in France take on emphatic new political colorations, first of a leftist cast, and then of a rightist.’
    • ‘It should be noted that the Copenhagen Consensus is not a group with any particular political coloration.’
    • ‘Besides, while individual investors are turned off, Europe's governments, whatever their political coloration, are totally hooked on the markets.’
    • ‘In the 1990s it also shed its socialist ideological coloration.’
    • ‘There is no possibility of a centralized cabal that could appoint people of only one political coloration.’
    • ‘Perhaps the political coloration of his lecture is accidental, but it is hard to overlook the congruity of his theoretical exegesis with a familiar political posture in the contemporary scene.’
    • ‘While Zionism attempted to give itself a socialist colouration, its differences with socialism were of a fundamental character.’
    1. 2.1A variety of musical or vocal expression.
      ‘the subtle colorations of big-box speakers’
      • ‘His dramatic vocal colorations leave no one in doubt that as Emperor of the Tartars he can command an army.’
      • ‘Feerick's simple melodies sound much more apt with subtle coloration instead of overkill.’
      • ‘The sheer technical control was staggering - the seamless transitions from head to chest registers, the fine thread of focused tone floating on the breath, the subtle coloration of words.’
      • ‘Technically, she was very sound, with a range of vocal colouration and good control in the lower registers.’
      • ‘What Ellington provided was a rich variety of moods, textures and rhythmic structures laced with emotional coloration that enhanced choreographic expression.’
      • ‘The composer's subtle sense of instrumental coloration is very much in evidence in this dance-theater piece.’
      • ‘Her commanding musicality and tonal coloration are impressively displayed on her 1716 Stradivarius - the Gold Standard.’
      • ‘This performance was far too sober and lacked tonal coloration and variety.’
      • ‘It is a complete performance, dramatic but not histrionic, with a range of vocal colouration some much better known singers would do well to emulate.’
      • ‘These sharply observed vignettes of heartbreak and regret, framed by orchestra, horns and subtle coloration can overwhelm when least expected.’
      • ‘Gibson's new offering uses digital technology to separate the sound from each string and send out a digital signal that can be manipulated with reverb, distortion, coloration and other effects.’


Early 17th century: from late Latin coloratio(n-), from colorare to colour.