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[mon-uh-krohm] /ˈmɒn əˌkroʊm/
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.
1655-65; < Medieval Latin monochrōma. See mono-, -chrome
Related forms
monochromic, monochromical, adjective
monochromically, adverb
monochromist, noun
monochromy, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for monochrome
  • At first glance, it might present as a monochrome horizon, a brown soup of unrelieved dullness.
  • It will create satisfying images even if one has access only to a monochrome display.
  • All too often, the beauty of scientific knowledge gets trapped in monochrome graphs and jarring acronyms.
  • The suspect's bent head, the blinding light, the blue monochrome and the reflection all help.
  • Even more extraordinary prices were paid for some monochrome vessels.
  • Within the caves, the monochrome lifelessness of the desert gave way to an exuberance of color and movement.
  • On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism.
  • Even the color is virtually monochrome, delicately tinted as if by a retoucher.
  • For example, earlier cellphones only had monochrome displays and the maximum you could do was text messages or call someone.
  • Examples of these are the celadon and monochrome porcelains.
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 monochrome: a monochrome print
devoid of any distinctive or stimulating characteristics
Also called (for senses 3, 4) monotint
Derived Forms
monochromic, monochromical, adjective
monochromist, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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monochrome in Technology
Literally "one colour". Usually used for a black and white (or sometimes green or orange) monitor as distinct from a color monitor. Normally, each pixel on the display will correspond to a single bit of display memory and will therefore be one of two intensities. A grey-scale display requires several bits per pixel but might still be called monochrome.
Compare: bitonal.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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