Definition of Indian ink in English:

Indian ink

(North American India ink)


  • [mass noun] Deep black ink containing dispersed carbon particles, used especially in drawing and technical graphics.

    • ‘When the blood was examined under the microscope a few minutes after the intravenous injection of India ink, distinct black particles of carbon were seen floating among the blood corpuscles.’
    • ‘The reliability of carbon particles from India ink as markers of cell expansion was an early concern in this study.’
    • ‘In one of them made after 1815 the drawings are in India ink wash and are on a larger scale than in the others.’
    • ‘Like a drawing in India ink of the whispering of wind in the pines, the secrets of Judo can only be suggested.’
    • ‘If you are using a modern ink, beware of pure Indian ink - this is far ‘blacker’ than most of the early medieval inks.’
    • ‘He used materials such as soft pastels, oil pastels, watercolor pencils and India ink, among others.’
    • ‘He published his books in samizdat, adorning them with India ink drawings.’
    • ‘Her thin and narrow face was framed in short curls of black hair, irregular as though they were outlined in pen-strokes upon a wash-drawing in Indian ink.’
    • ‘Be aware that India ink, a permanent dye, is nothing more than carbon black mixed into a solvent medium.’
    • ‘The student applies black India ink with a small paintbrush to the 1/8-inch line or narrow space between the blocks of oil pastel.’
    • ‘The newly-lit lights revealed the room as circular with a winding maze pattern painted in black Indian ink on the marble floor.’
    • ‘It contains a highly pigmented India ink that is both acid-free and archival.’
    • ‘The works on paper have been done using Indian ink, acrylic, paint and wax.’
    • ‘And I got this idea that I would use India ink on acetate and make a brush-stroke, because the acetate kind of repels the ink.’
    • ‘The tiny streamers are made of Tyvek, a fibrous, water-resistant paper, along with sailcloth, India ink, colored gels and pieces of metal.’
    • ‘But there are also very fine monotone drawings in Indian ink, and other mediums, of Bulgaria.’
    • ‘To emphasize their details and three-dimensional quality, as well as to give them an attractive patina, the suits of armor were painted with black India ink.’
    • ‘The psalm is written in India ink, the oldest ink known to mankind.’
    • ‘We used the same ‘palette’ as they did, although we substituted India ink, compressed charcoal, newspaper, manila, conte, gesso and other materials to create our collages with mixed media.’
    • ‘The intertwining branches cast many flickering shadows on the floor of the forest, as the ground itself was etched in Indian ink.’


Mid 17th century: originally applied to Chinese and Japanese pigments prepared in solid blocks and imported to Europe via India.


Indian ink