Dating back to ancient Rome, atramentum or atrament suggests a very black, liquid, substance. For example, an octopus may emit a puff of atrament.

Atramentous is an adjective derived from this meaning “black as ink”. To atrament something would also mean to write something down with ink. The English word ‘atrocious’ — is related and means to make something black and gloomy.

According to pigment handbooks, atramentum is a historical pigment often created from carbon black or burned ivory.

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