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.
graphics 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. (1994-11-24)