a painting or drawing in different shades of a single color.
the art or technique of producing such a painting or drawing.
the state or condition of being painted, decorated, etc., in shades of a single color.


being or made in the shades of a single color: a blue monochrome seascape.
having the images reproduced in tones of gray: monochrome television.

Nearby words

  1. monochromatic,
  2. monochromatic aberration,
  3. monochromatism,
  4. monochromatophil,
  5. monochromator,
  6. monocle,
  7. monoclinal,
  8. monocline,
  9. monoclinic,
  10. monoclinous

Origin of monochrome

From the Medieval Latin word monochrōma, dating back to 1655–65. See mono-, -chrome

Related formsmon·o·chro·mic, mon·o·chro·mi·cal, adjectivemon·o·chro·mi·cal·ly, adverbmon·o·chrom·ist, nounmon·o·chro·my, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for monochrome

British Dictionary definitions for monochrome



a black-and-white photograph or transparency
photog black and white
  1. a painting, drawing, etc, done in a range of tones of a single colour
  2. the technique or art of this
(modifier) executed in or resembling monochromea monochrome print


devoid of any distinctive or stimulating characteristics
Also called (for senses 3, 4): monotint

Derived Formsmonochromic or monochromical, adjectivemonochromist, noun

Word Origin for monochrome

C17: via Medieval Latin from Greek monokhrōmos of one colour

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for monochrome



1660s, "painting or drawing done in different tints of a single color," from Greek monochromos "of a single color," from monos "single, alone" (see mono-) + khroma (genitive khromatos) "color, complexion, skin" (see chroma). As an adjective from 1849. Photographic sense is recorded from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper