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 In the sepia-toned photo, taken outside, Archie is photographed from behind, holding a bouquet of balloons. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Share a New Photo of Their Son, Archie, For His Second Birthday," 6 May 2021 According to the website, the sepia-toned image is a personal photo from Markle and Prince Harry. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Shared a Brand-New Archie Photo for His Birthday," 6 May 2021 Teens can print photos in black and white, color, or sepia tones and even opt for a border. Lindsey Hunter Lopez, USA TODAY, "20 best Easter gifts for teens of 2021," 17 Mar. 2021 Former presidents long slipped into a life soaked in sepia. Washington Post, "Films! Novels! Springsteen! The Obamas and Clintons seem to be having the time of their lives.," 5 Mar. 2021 Most strikingly, walls of floor-to-ceiling windows frame arresting beach vistas like modernist color block paintings, the sea a stunning cerulean plane juxtaposed against the long sepia shoreline. Alexandra Kirkman, Forbes, "This Dazzling Ritz-Carlton Reserve In Mexico Is The Perfect Spring Break Escape," 9 Mar. 2021 Patton found two spots with the same name, eight miles apart, but was able to determine the correct one by looking at sepia-toned campsite photographs. Jim Morrison, Wired, "What a 1900s Wildlife Survey Reveals About Climate Change," 23 Feb. 2021 The sepia-toned pic pays total homage to the old cover, but with a more modern update. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "There’s a Major Easter Egg in Taylor Swift’s New "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" Cover Art," 12 Feb. 2021 Swift unveiled the sepia-toned album cover on social media, along with a note reflecting on making this album as a teen and her decision to rerecord it after music manager Scooter Braun bought (and later sold) the rights to her first five albums. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "Taylor Swift’s Rerecorded Releases Will Start With Fearless," 11 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Cyclists have always adapted to a variety of terrain, as those old, sepia-tone photographs of the Tour de France from the early 1900s will attest. Brion O’connor,, "For the road less traveled, try a gravel bike," 10 July 2019 All the group has to go on is an old, wallet-sized sepia photograph. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A group wants to rebuild a World War II memorial. This photo is all that’s left to go on.," 20 June 2019 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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Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sepia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sepia



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

More from Merriam-Webster on sepia

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sepia

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

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