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 Add a sepia Instagram filter to the broadcast and viewers might have mistaken it for a snippet from the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960, the last time that presidential candidates sparred inside a closed TV studio. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, "No Audience? No Problem. A TV Debate Like Few Others Gets High Marks.," 16 Mar. 2020 But, of course, the memory was still there, sepia at the edges with shame, and, like a gust of wind, Brathwaite’s death had pulled it back up. Gabrielle Bellot, The New York Review of Books, "Kamau Brathwaite and the Voice of the Caribbean," 27 Feb. 2020 There are cushy, curved booths tricked out in nautical bands of white and blue; corrugated metal walls sport sepia images of sport-fishing along the upper Texas coast in the 1950s and vintage signs from Goode’s treasure trove of Texicana. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "New Goode Co. Seafood opens on Katy Freeway," 5 Nov. 2019 Customers can dine under red chandeliers and order at a bar decorated with a sepia map of the world while listening to live music at Marauders. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Marauders is now open. Here's what you need to know about Tempe's new pirate-themed bar," 7 Dec. 2019 With just a touch of shimmer and a rich sepia tone, the dress was a perfect choice for the 41-year-old mom of five. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Found the Perfect Flowy Holiday Dress and We Want It Now," 24 Nov. 2019 The 2018 wine’s label is different, too, showing the old Cigare label scene in sepia tone, but with Oumuamua shining light on it, bringing it into full color. Esther Mobley,, "Randall Grahm’s new Cigare Volant wines are more approachable, more youthful and cheaper," 24 Oct. 2019 Mr Almodóvar employs a palate of bright primary colours in both timelines, avoiding the sepia tones that many film-makers use to connote memory. N.e.g., The Economist, "“Pain and Glory” and the question of autobiographical art," 7 Oct. 2019 Breaking Bad could be visually stunning, drawing its sepia palette and wide-angle camerawork from John Ford westerns. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 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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Time Traveler for sepia

Time Traveler

The first known use of sepia was in 1821

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Statistics for sepia

Last Updated

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sepia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for sepia


How to pronounce sepia (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sepia

Spanish Central: Translation of sepia

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

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