ado·​be | \ə-ˈdō-bē \

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 \-​ˌlīk \ 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

The interiors of Spanish Colonial homes innately have a casual, warm feel to them, since the raw adobe walls may not be covered with plaster or accented with trim, and wooden beams often serve as structural support along the ceilings. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Is Spanish Colonial Design? Everything To Know About California's Popular Style," 13 Nov. 2018 That process involved installing handmade replica tiles, new windows, as well as restoring the original adobe. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Stunning Pueblo Revival home asks $3.8M," 23 Aug. 2018 Consider the adobe-style fireplaces, better known as kivas, your new Netflix-and-chill. Alison Beckner, Vogue, "Why New Mexico Is the West Coast’s Best (and Most Overlooked) Wellness Retreat," 29 Sep. 2018 In the next mural, two Hispanic women are at work on an adobe building, while a man labors in a field. Mary Hudetz, The Seattle Times, "University head recommends covering controversial murals," 9 Oct. 2018 Why not opt instead to tour the Moche Temples of the Moon and Sun, the Peruvian answer to the pharaoh’s pyramids of ancient Egypt, or the 600-year-old honeycombed walls of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the world. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Why an Around-the-World Private Jet Trip is the Only Way to Fly," 17 Aug. 2018 Magazine Which is how in 2004 Fournier and Marty came to build their first house, Villa D., a series of adobe cubes with few windows, at once alien and familiar. Joshua Levine, WSJ, "A Moroccan Retreat With a French Minimalist Spin," 13 Aug. 2018 Architect Michael Morrow of Kinneymorrow Architecture reimagined the classic house, which was originally a row of adobe brick units, by adding modern additions and creating courtyards between them. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "9 vacation homes to fuel your wanderlust," 30 July 2018 The home where Ashly lived is a rectangular, two-bedroom adobe structure that houses her extended family. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "'What if I lose her forever?' In Guatemala, a couple fears for their child still in detention in U.S.," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for adobe

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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The first known use of adobe was in 1748

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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 \

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

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living or existing for a long time

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