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 There’s an old sepia-toned post card featuring the faces of that old 1878 Clinton baseball team. Thomas Farragher,, 15 Apr. 2022 Cast members Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer and host Matthew McConaughey hilariously transform into the singer via her sepia-toned music video. Danielle Pascual, Billboard, 9 Feb. 2022 The weather outside on Friday night’s opening was a close match for the sepia tones of Courtney O’Neill’s droll and unusual set. Chris Jones,, 8 Feb. 2022 From the sepia tones to the off-the-shoulder white gown featuring bow sleeves, Kate clearly took some inspiration from the 19th-century shot. Stephanie Petit,, 11 Jan. 2022 Rock clubs drew lively, loyal crowds; D22 in Beijing, founded by Pettis, is talked about in the same sepia tones of CBGB in New York. Stacey Anderson, Rolling Stone, 24 June 2021 Twenty-four teams played there through the first two rounds, some bathed in the sepia tones of late-afternoon light that streams through the windows. Billy Witz, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2021 The deli itself has a 50s-era, sepia-toned interior, with tchotchkes and bric-a-brac on every non-table surface. Nathan Englander, Travel + Leisure, 29 Jan. 2022 And then there is … light — the light, the overhead halo of blue, sometimes blanched into whiteness, sometimes edged with smog-sepia. Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The sepia blowups of crab fisherman, outside and in, are especially arresting. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 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,, 10 July 2019 All the group has to go on is an old, wallet-sized sepia photograph. San Diego Union-Tribune, 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, 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,, 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, 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,, 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, 8 July 2017 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near sepia



sepia brown

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Last Updated

18 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sepia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sepia


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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