se·​pia | \ ˈsē-pē-ə How to pronounce sepia (audio) \

Definition of sepia

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a brown melanin-containing pigment from the ink of cuttlefishes
b : the inky secretion of a cuttlefish
2 : a print or photograph of a brown color resembling sepia
3 : a brownish-gray to dark olive-brown color



Definition of sepia (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made of or done in sepia
2 : of the color sepia

Examples of sepia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For their outfits, head-to-toe black ensembles with hints of bold colors were replaced with sepia suits with muted hues. Devon Abelman, Allure, "The Rose Opens Up About the Pressure to Have Good Skin in K-Pop and Beyond," 5 Oct. 2018 Another suggested taking a favorite landscape photo to Staples, getting an engineering print in sepia tones, to achieve a similar look. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines Reveals Where To Buy Everything In Baby Crew's Nursery," 6 Aug. 2018 The midday sun ducked behind a rain cloud, dimming the living room into a sort of sepia tone, and Les Williams, feeling restless and a bit bored, pointed the remote at the television and put on football. Jesse Dougherty,, "Former Alabama player Les Williams is one of more than 100 suing NCAA over brain injuries," 3 July 2018 At night the Mission District restaurant grows sepia-toned. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "At Heirloom Cafe, Matt Straus keeps alive the dying art of cellaring wine," 29 May 2018 On the one hand, quoting Twain colors the Bundy situation in sepia tones: a Wild West battle over a resource most people in the country don’t worry about drying up or being taken away. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Three: A Clan Not to Cross," 17 May 2018 As the light begins to fail in the mouth of the Carrier driveway, the rectangles of sun are replaced by a sepia tone as the light is filtered by dust and exhaust in the post-industrial air. Tom Chiarella And James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Last Shift: What Really Happened To Those Carrier Jobs Trump Saved," 15 May 2018 Here is a novel of bewitching ingenuity, one whose darkling, melodic mind conceives a world of ruin and awe, a sensibility cast in sepia or else in a pall of vying grays. Tadzio Koelb, New York Times, "Step 1: Kill Husband. Step 2: Assume His Identity.," 11 May 2018 Skies over London turned yellow, sepia, tan and red. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Photos: Dust from the Sahara has turned the snow orange in Russia and Eastern Europe," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In fact, the first half of the movie is a mostly plotless, sepia-tone slog, whose copious scenes of tree-chopping, pillow talk and creepy cult rituals prompted a handful of fest-goers to walk out. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Sundance: Nicolas Cage's revenge thriller 'Mandy' may be his weirdest movie yet," 21 Jan. 2018 But Lepp, who lives in Seattle and has a background in film and the gaming industry, has so much more invested in these sepia panels, and so many stories to tell. Steve Duin,, "Steve Duin: The heartfelt 'Soul in the Machine'," 1 Feb. 2018 The ancient couples were quaint in the stiff, sepia photos posing in their Sunday best or in jerky 16-millimeter home movies. Anna Fels, New York Times, "The Museum of You Does Not Have a Gift Shop," 25 Oct. 2017 The top filters used by depressed individuals were: Inkwell Crema Willow Inkwell and Willow turn the photos into black-and-white, and Crema turns the photos into a darker, more sepia tone. Daniel Wheaton,, "Know a friend who only uses the "inkwell" filter on Instagram? They might be depressed.," 15 Aug. 2017 Of looking through the shiny new towers and having sepia dreams of what the buildings must have looked like when my grandfather left it behind. Karissa Chen, Longreads, "My Grandfather’s Fateful Goodbye, Reimagined," 8 July 2017 Sepia principals Emmanel Nony, chef Andrew Zimmerman and sommelier Arthur Hon will oversee the new project, which will feature riffs on global street food. Phil Vettel,, "41 new and coming-soon Chicago restaurants to hit this summer," 1 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sepia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sepia


1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sepia


Latin, cuttlefish, ink, from Greek sēpia

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Statistics for sepia

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Time Traveler for sepia

The first known use of sepia was in 1821

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English Language Learners Definition of sepia

: a reddish-brown color


se·​pia | \ ˈsē-pē-ə How to pronounce sepia (audio) \

Medical Definition of sepia

1 capitalized : a genus (the type of the family Sepiidae) of oval-bodied cephalopods that comprise the cuttlefishes and have a saclike organ containing a dark fluid and an internal shell mostly of calcium carbonate which has been used as an antacid and in tooth and polishing powders
2 : the inky secretion of a cuttlefish or a brown pigment from it

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More from Merriam-Webster on sepia

Spanish Central: Translation of sepia

Nglish: Translation of sepia for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sepia

Comments on sepia

What made you want to look up sepia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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