from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dark brown ink or pigment originally prepared from the secretion of the cuttlefish.
  • noun A drawing or picture done in this pigment.
  • noun A photograph in a brown tint.
  • noun A dark grayish yellow brown to dark or moderate olive brown.
  • adjective Of the color sepia.
  • adjective Done or made in sepia.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A black secretion or ink produced by the cuttlefish; also, in the arts, a pigment prepared from this substance.
  • noun [capitalized] [NL.] A genus of cuttles, typical of the family Scpiidæ, and containing such species, as the common or officinal cuttle, S. officinalis. See also cuts under cuttlefish, Dibranchiata, and ink-bag.
  • noun A cuttlefish.
  • noun Cuttlebone: more fully called os sepiæ. It is an antacid, used in dentifrices, and given to canaries. See os and sepiost.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of a dark brown color, with a little red in its composition; also, made of, or done in, sepia.
  • noun The common European cuttlefish.
  • noun A genus comprising the common cuttlefish and numerous similar species. See Illustr. under cuttlefish.
  • noun A pigment prepared from the ink, or black secretion, of the sepia, or cuttlefish. Treated with caustic potash, it has a rich brown color; and this mixed with a red forms Roman sepia. Cf. India ink, under India.
  • noun a drawing in monochrome, made in sepia alone, or in sepia with other brown pigments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun archaic The cuttlefish.
  • noun A dark brown pigment made from the secretions of the cuttlefish.
  • noun colour A dark, slightly reddish, brown colour.
  • noun A sepia-coloured drawing or photograph.
  • adjective colour Of a dark reddish-brown colour.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun type genus of the Sepiidae
  • noun rich brown pigment prepared from the ink of cuttlefishes
  • noun a shade of brown with a tinge of red


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, cuttlefish, from Latin sēpia, cuttlefish, ink, from Greek sēpiā, cuttlefish; perhaps akin to sēpein, to make rotten.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin sepia, from Ancient Greek σηπία (sēpia, "cuttlefish").


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  • The scientific name of the genus to which cuttlefish belong.

    December 4, 2007

  • I do not like you, seepy-uh. You sound like inky seepage.

    September 1, 2008

  • Really? I think it's a nice little word. :-)

    September 1, 2008

  • The glow of nostalgia from old photographs rubs off on this word. Don't mind it.

    September 1, 2008

  • I have absolutely no problem with what it entails (or seeing it in print! My mind says "sep-i-a," to appease me)— but it's not a word I enjoy hearing.

    I'm sorry, sepia. :(

    September 7, 2008

  • I always link it in my mind with sanguine, this being the other earth tone that it used in classical drawing.

    September 7, 2008

  • I quite like this word, and the nostalgia of old photos it suggests. But I really like the fact that it also refers to cuttlefish and therefore, I presume, to the natural origins of sepia ink.

    September 7, 2008