Definition of coloring in US English:


(British colouring)


  • 1The process or skill of applying a substance to something so as to change its original color.

    • ‘Whether you need to cover up some gray or want to try out a different look, hair coloring might just be the ideal solution.’
    • ‘My hair still looked cute from all that washing and coloring so I just put it in an elegant twist.’
    • ‘For a long time, hair coloring has been serious business!’
    • ‘After her last coloring, she had developed a rash over much of her body, caused by an allergic reaction to the commercial hair color she had been using.’
    • ‘The method of colouring has changed and now colour is applied in many varying methods and techniques.’
    • ‘Hair cutting and coloring is its core business; and that is a fairly simple business to manage.’
    • ‘So you thought colouring was as easy as buying a favourite colour and applying it with a brush.’
    dye, colourant, colouring, wash
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    1. 1.1 The process of filling in a particular shape or outline with crayons.
      as modifier ‘a coloring book’
      • ‘One of the handouts is a circus coloring book for children.’
      • ‘Pupils who collected the most garbage bags were due to get prizes like beach balls, crayons and colouring books.’
      • ‘The staff then filled each box with a selection of toys, clothing, colouring books and sweets, as well as a small greeting card for the recipient of the present.’
      • ‘The story, activity and colouring books stand out in the crowd.’
      • ‘We hadn't done any painting or coloring for a while.’
      • ‘The teacher hurriedly set the other children to work on some colouring and then took Little Brucie aside to ask him, ‘Is that really true about your father?’’
      • ‘She was chosen from thousands of entries in the Woodies DIY colouring competition to be a celebrity for a day.’
      • ‘With the money she accumulated she bought colouring books and colouring pencils.’
      • ‘After he had given out the prizes all the children in the shop were given red balloons and some colouring books.’
      • ‘The winners of both this and the colouring competition will be announced at the close of the Fair.’
      • ‘Books of all kinds, from colouring books to books on science and business, attract a large number of people.’
      • ‘And for younger supporters, don't forget to return your colouring competitions on or before February 6.’
      • ‘When the drawing is complete, the students begin the coloring of Elmer's patchwork body with bright colorful markers.’
      • ‘It marked a change from our comfortable world of colouring, drawing, doodling and recess into the harsh realities of the real world.’
      • ‘After a few more minutes of coloring, she pushed the book away and began organizing the crayons by color.’
      • ‘Crayons, paper, coloring books and story books may provide a much needed diversion.’
      • ‘I gave the kids some colouring in to do this afternoon and was amazed and dumbstruck by their response - they sat quietly, put lots of effort into making the flowers look good and seemed to enjoy it.’
      • ‘She was concentrating on her coloring, careful not to cross the solid black line.’
      • ‘The third is a colouring competition and every entry receives a prize.’
      • ‘I took my colouring pencils out and started to colour in.’
      • ‘The teacher says that Marguerite is very good at colouring.’
    2. 1.2 A drawing produced by coloring.
  • 2Appearance with regard to color.

    ‘the toad's colouring blended perfectly with its surroundings’
    • ‘As previously mentioned, this bright coloring is a warning to some fish that may attempt to approach or challenge the Garibaldi.’
    • ‘He was easy to spot; the other two wolves had darker coloring.’
    • ‘Its brilliant fall coloring is one of the red maple's most outstanding features.’
    • ‘Females are more drab with brown and white colouring.’
    • ‘In the days when people had to struggle to live, chopsticks were dull in colouring and appearance.’
    • ‘This reproduction is especially impressive because it is a more contemporary version of the painting and so the artist was able to recapture the vivid colouring of the now faded original.’
    • ‘The colouring is a brownish grey, with the males having rust-coloured heads and necks, while the females have white necks and black heads.’
    • ‘Scamp has no identification collar but has tan and white colouring.’
    • ‘They can rapidly alter their vivid coloring to blend into the background.’
    • ‘With its coloring and transparent hind wings, the adult can be mistaken for a wasp.’
    • ‘Their colouring will undergo remarkable transformations from vulgar pink to rich ruddy purples before turning a bleached shade of brown.’
    • ‘An examination showed they were healthy and specialists attempted to clean the birds and restore their natural white colouring.’
    • ‘But the composed-looking orchids, with their astonishing colouring against bright green leaves are among the best photos on display.’
    • ‘Bottlenose dolphins appear uniform grey, but their colouring can be very variable.’
    • ‘The dark colouring gives the machine a professional appearance.’
    • ‘Giraffes' colouring is individual, with no two members exactly alike, but they have large, sandy to chestnut, angular spots closely spaced on a lighter background.’
    skin colour, skin colouring, skin tone, complexion, colouring, pigmentation
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    1. 2.1 The natural hues of a person's skin, hair, and eyes.
      ‘her fair coloring’
      • ‘The black of the suit complemented his coloring perfectly, and the white set off his darkly tanned skin, making his blue eyes electric in their intensity.’
      • ‘He has his father's face and colouring, and also has brown eyes, like his father… but the shape of his eyes is like his mother's.’
      • ‘You have to get a cream to match your skin tone, your colouring and your lifestyle.’
      • ‘It was one of Harriet's cast-offs, hardly worn since it hadn't suited her fair colouring.’
      • ‘She is wearing a figure-hugging white bodice and tight ski pants which perfectly show off her dancer's figure and dark colouring.’
      • ‘She inherited her pale skin from her mother, Anne, a psychiatric worker born in Scotland, but says her colouring hasn't always been a blessing.’
      • ‘Before meeting Anna, I spoke with her at length on the telephone so she could get a better idea of what I like and don't like to wear, my colouring, size and shape.’
      • ‘One robber has dark European colouring with a prominent scar above the eyes.’
      • ‘The white shirt and black pants suited her well, going with the sandy brown hair and her healthy coloring.’
      • ‘She had the colouring of an ‘English Rose’ i.e. pale skin and blue eyes, often outlined with heavy black to make them stand out less.’
      • ‘His colouring was very dark and his features very striking, his hair was a nest of black corkscrew curls and he wore an Australian bush hat.’
      • ‘With the help of an experienced stylist, get the ideal hair color and cut to suit your coloring and face shape.’
      • ‘Beth was wearing a simple jade-green silk dress that perfectly suited her colouring, as well as the pretty coral necklace that Louis had surprised her with just a few days ago.’
      • ‘She still had some stray flower petals in her hair; red ones, beautiful with her coloring.’
      • ‘Many had said that Karen was the spitting image of Anna's mother: blonde hair, small frame, and pale coloring.’
      • ‘Amazingly, the deep aqua dress perfectly matched her eyes and complemented her coloring.’
      • ‘Her own dark coloring blended into the grey wall around her.’
      • ‘Marcus had the same coloring as Simon - dark hair and eyes - but wasn't as handsome.’
      • ‘Her first task was to find out which colours best suited Jane, so she could pick make-up and clothes that enhanced her natural colouring.’
      • ‘Colour analysis will help you select shades that complement your natural colouring.’
      • ‘The genetic trawl will not be looking for physical characteristics, such as colouring or height, but at particular genes that were thought to be common in Vikings.’
      complexion, colouring, skin colour, skin tone, pigmentation
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    2. 2.2 The pervading character or tone of something.
      ‘the comments give a distinctly more ideological coloring to research conclusions’
      • ‘He believes innovative ideas do not need political colouring.’
      • ‘Terrorism remains an evil regardless of its coloring - nationalist, ethnographic, separatist, religious, or whatever.’
      • ‘Rodinism, as an attitude, indicates a focusing of energy for pragmatic ends; as a style, it takes on the excessive colouring of anxiety.’
      • ‘Her voice has, as yet, neither the maturity nor flexibility of other singers but her performance was strong on dramatic colouring and purity of tone.’
      • ‘We saw that with the influx of Catholic Irish and Germans to the northern states, politics began to assume a more ethnic colouring.’
      • ‘The fact that an anti-war movement even exists, is gaining strength, and dares to have a tint of radical coloring must boggle their minds.’
      • ‘Prayers from every religion were chanted; it was our way of adding a subtle political colouring to the meeting.’
      ambience, aura, climate, air, mood, feel, feeling, character, tone, overtone, undertone, tenor, spirit, quality, aspect, element, undercurrent, flavour, colour, colouring, look, impression, suggestion, emanation
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  • 3A substance used to give a particular color to something, especially food.

    • ‘The green colouring comes from chlorophyll, the same pigment that is found in foliage.’
    • ‘The product doesn't contain added salt, sugar, yeast, artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives.’
    • ‘Any initiative designed to reduce the dependency on toxic chemicals, antibiotics and artificial colourings is to be applauded.’
    • ‘Emergency action has been taken by the European Parliament's Committee on Food to stop the UK importing products known to contain this carcinogenic colouring.’
    • ‘They are also all made without genetically modified ingredients, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives.’
    • ‘Her mind drifted back to that day at school as she wet her hair and applied the colouring.’
    • ‘Fresh and frozen chips are also free from the artificial preservatives and colourings found in many other fast foods.’
    • ‘But the mainstream curry shops make do with jarred curry pastes and powdered food colorings.’
    • ‘We all know that food coloring is tasteless, so what happens when we dye foods different colors?’
    • ‘The researchers concluded that ‘significant changes in children's hyperactive behaviour could be produced by the removal of food colourings and additives from their diet’.’
    • ‘Add a drop of blue colouring or some coffee concentrate to create a more realistic colour.’
    • ‘Foods which are most likely to cause problems are those laden with additives such as colourings, flavourings, preservatives and artificial sweeteners.’
    • ‘They say that it is produced in as natural a way as possible, without using pesticides, antibiotics, artificial colourings or genetically-modified ingredients.’
    • ‘Some parents believe that certain dietary substances and, in particular, certain artificial food colourings are responsible for their child's behaviour.’
    • ‘Look out for excess salt, sugar and artificial colourings.’
    • ‘Ingredients are also completely natural - no artificial coloring, fragrance or synthetic detergents of any kind.’
    • ‘Soil Association standards prohibit the use of food additives and artificial colourings that may be damaging to health, and the use of genetically modified ingredients is not allowed under European organic law.’
    • ‘The pigments are much more stable than most red plant colours, and are sometimes extracted and used as edible food colourings.’
    • ‘Other food colourings are known to cause hyperactivity and schizophrenia.’
    • ‘The average supermarket has shelves which are stacked with foods containing a variety of artificial sweeteners, flavourings, colourings, preservatives and stabilisers.’
    • ‘In the first week all the children only ate foods that were free of artificial additives, including colourings such as tartrazine, sunset yellow and carmoisine, and the preservative sodium benzoate.’
    added ingredient, addition, extra, add-on, supplement, accompaniment
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