Is there any word in the English language that expressly means to "color something in"? A word like colorize, but for instances where the means used to "color in" an image doesn't involve a computer?

I _____ed this old photo. It was formerly portrayed in monochrome, but now it is adorned in every color on the spectrum.

I intend to _____ this coloring book sometime today.


2 Answers 2


You can use "color" itself for this, and that's customary especially for talking about coloring books. For photos, it's more common to say that you "tint" them.


This old photo

For any process of applying color to a black-and-white photo or film, as in your first example, you could use the word "colorize" even if the process was not done by a computer.

I colorized this old photo.

Dictionary.com defines "colorize" as "to cause to appear in color; enhance with color, especially by computer"; "especially" implies that it is possible to colorize without a computer. Also, the Wikipedia article on film colorization has sections on both "hand colorization" and "digital colorization".

If you are dead-set on avoiding the word "colorize", then take Nathan Tuggy's advice and use the word "tint".

This coloring book

In your second example, you could use either "color" ["to give color to; to change the color of (as by dyeing, staining, or painting)"] or, as Tim Pederick suggested, "color in" ["to add color to (a shape or picture) by using markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc."]. The latter is more specific to coloring books, but both sound natural to my ear.

I intend to color this coloring book sometime today.

I intend to color in this coloring book sometime today.

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