1800, "chromium," from French chrome, the name proposed by Fourcroy and Haüy for a new element, from Greek khrōma "color" (see chroma); so called because it makes colorful compounds. The metallic element had been isolated 1798 by French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, who named it chrome. It is now known as chromium (q.v.).
Chrome continued in commercial use in English for "chrome steel" (steel with 2 percent or so chrome) after the chemical name was changed internationally. As a short form of chromium plating it dates from 1937. Related: Chromic.
in reference to color, "intensity of distinctive hue, degree of departure of a color-sensation from that of white or gray," 1889, from Latinized form of Greek khrōma "surface of the body, skin, color of the skin," also used generically for "color" and, in plural, "ornaments, make-up, embellishments," a verbal noun from khroizein "to color, stain, to touch the surface of the body," khrosthenai "to take on a color or hue," from khros, khroia "surface of the body, skin."
Beekes considers this noun to be of uncertain origin. It sometimes is explained as being somehow from PIE *ghreu- "to rub, grind" (see grit (n.)).
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Definitions of chromium from WordNet
a hard brittle multivalent metallic element; resistant to corrosion and tarnishing;