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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of a dark brown color, with a little red in its composition; also, made of, or done in, sepia.
  • n.
  • n. The common European cuttlefish.
  • n. A genus comprising the common cuttlefish and numerous similar species. See Illustr. under cuttlefish.
  • n. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A black secretion or ink produced by the cuttlefish; also, in the arts, a pigment prepared from this substance.
  • n. [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.
  • n. A cuttlefish.
  • n. Cuttlebone: more fully called os sepiæ. It is an antacid, used in dentifrices, and given to canaries. See os and sepiost.

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

  • n. type genus of the Sepiidae
  • n. rich brown pigment prepared from the ink of cuttlefishes
  • n. 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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  • 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

  • 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 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

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

    September 1, 2008

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

    September 1, 2008

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

    September 1, 2008

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

    December 4, 2007