ado·​be | \ ə-ˈdō-bē How to pronounce adobe (audio) \

Definition of adobe

1 : a brick or building material of sun-dried earth and straw
2 : a structure made of adobe bricks
3 : a heavy clay used in making adobe bricks broadly : alluvial or playa clay in desert or arid regions

Illustration of adobe

Illustration of adobe

adobe 2

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Other Words from adobe

adobelike \ ə-​ˈdō-​bē-​ˌlīk How to pronounce adobelike (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Handmade sun-dried bricks, adobes are formed from a mixture of heavy clay and straw found in dry regions. As a building material, adobes date back thousands of years and are found in many parts of the world. Molds for shaping the bricks were brought to the New World by the Spanish. Excellent insulating properties make adobes ideal material for both dwellings and ovens; home interiors retain heat in winter and stay cool in summer. The adobe buildings at Taos, New Mexico, are typical of Native American pueblo dwellings.

Examples of adobe in a Sentence

The house was built of adobe.
Recent Examples on the Web Excellent Mexican fare in a fun, cozy room at the heart of an ancient adobe. Alexandra Marvar, Washington Post, "A pilgrimage to the stark desert landscape that inspired painter Georgia O’Keeffe," 15 Nov. 2019 The American church has come a long way in the 400 years since the first, San Miguel Mission, was molded from adobe in the heart of Santa Fe. National Geographic, "Divine architecture: Magnificent churches across the U.S.," 9 Nov. 2019 According to the San Antonio Conservation Society, the oldest part of the limestone block and adobe building dates back at least to the late 1880s. John Maccormack,, "Tony’s, a ‘classic neighborhood dive bar’ downtown with cheap beer and TVs tuned to Spurs games, to close," 23 Oct. 2019 The 29 Palms Inn (from $110) is one of its most unique, with lush landscaping, rustic cabins, colorful adobes, and an organic garden that’s harvested for an on-site restaurant. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide," 28 Oct. 2019 While the adobe exterior is a classic piece of Southwestern architecture, the interiors are decked out with everything from Persian textiles and Afghan rugs to antique furniture sourced from across the U.S. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in the U.S.: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 The high adobe tower flanking the garden evokes the character of the nearby casbahs, mountain fortresses that were home to fiercely independent Berbers who call themselves Amazigh, or free people. National Geographic, "Visit a designer’s oasis in the heart of Marrakech," 20 Sep. 2019 The houses, which were relatively small and made of adobe, have probably vanished. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "In search of the ‘white Jaguar’: Archaeologists travel deep into the jungle to find a lost Maya city," 5 Sep. 2019 Mexican architecture shapes the city, from opulent mission-style haciendas in the hills to humble adobe houses. Washington Post, "Before massacre, El Paso became a hot spot on Mexican border," 6 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adobe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adobe

1748, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adobe

borrowed from Spanish, borrowed from Arabic aṭ-ṭūb, from al "the" + ṭūb "brick (material), bricks," borrowed from Coptic (Sahidic dialect) tôôbe, (Bohairic dialect) tôbi "brick," going back to Old Egyptian db.t

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Time Traveler for adobe

Time Traveler

The first known use of adobe was in 1748

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Statistics for adobe

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Adobe.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for adobe


How to pronounce adobe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of adobe

: a type of brick made of a mixture of mud and straw that is dried by the sun


ado·​be | \ ə-ˈdō-bē How to pronounce adobe (audio) \

Kids Definition of adobe

1 : brick made of earth or clay dried in the sun
2 : a building made of adobe

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More from Merriam-Webster on adobe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with adobe

Spanish Central: Translation of adobe

Nglish: Translation of adobe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adobe for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about adobe

Comments on adobe

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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