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[kruh-mat-uh-fawr, -fohr, kroh-muh-tuh‐] /krəˈmæt əˌfɔr, -ˌfoʊr, ˈkroʊ mə tə‐/
Zoology. a cell containing pigment, especially one that through contraction and expansion produces a temporary color, as in cuttlefishes.
Botany. one of the colored plastids in plant cells.
1860-65; chromato- + -phore
Related forms
[kruh-mat-uh-fawr-ik, ‐for-ik, kroh-muh-tuh‐] /krəˌmæt əˈfɔr ɪk, ‐ˈfɒr ɪk, ˈkroʊ mə tə‐/ (Show IPA),
[kroh-muh-tof-er-uh s] /ˌkroʊ məˈtɒf ər əs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for chromatophore
  • When pigments are concentrated, the skin will be lighter and the chromatophore's color will be suppressed.
British Dictionary definitions for chromatophore


a cell in the skin of frogs, chameleons, etc, in which pigment is concentrated or dispersed, causing the animal to change colour
another name for chromoplast
Derived Forms
chromatophoric, chromatophorous (ˌkrəʊməˈtɒfərəs) 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
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Word Origin and History for chromatophore

"pigment cell," 1864, from chromato- + Greek -phoros "bearing, bearer," from pherein "to carry" (see infer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chromatophore in Medicine

chromatophore chro·mat·o·phore (krō-māt'ə-fôr')

  1. A specialized pigment-bearing organelle in certain photosynthetic bacteria and cyanobacteria.

  2. A pigment-bearing phagocyte found chiefly in the skin, mucous membrane, and choroid coat of the eye, as well as in melanomas. Also called pigment cell.

  3. Variant of chromophore.

chro·mat'o·phor'ic (-fôr'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for chromatophore

pigment-containing cell in the deeper layers of the skin of animals. Depending on the colour of their pigment, chromatophores are termed melanophores (black), erythrophores (red), xanthophores (yellow), or leucophores (white). The distribution of the chromatophores and the pigments they contain determine the colour patterns of an organism.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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