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

Other Words from adobe

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

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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 Love it or hate it, Love Actually has become synonymous with Christmas in the popular consciousness, and now a London adobe featured in the rom-com has hit the market. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 Dec. 2021 Turn the pilón upside-down, dump it out and the mofongo makes a smooth little dome like an adobe igloo. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 3 Dec. 2021 Still, its traditional New Mexico adobe-style architecture (a favorite among locals and road trippers alike) remains intact. Mia Taylor, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Oct. 2021 Common characteristics of this architectural style, which remains the predominant style of home in Santa Fe, are contoured or irregular adobe walls, flat roofs and stepped massing. Spencer Elliott, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2021 The fledgling town of San Francisco consisted of a collection of wood-frame and adobe buildings, connected by dirt paths, spread out on a series of slopes. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 Last summer, an early morning fire ripped through the San Gabriel Mission, causing severe damage to the roof and interior of the landmark 249-year-old adobe-and-wood structure. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2021 The renovation includes one-of-a-kind adobe structures designed to flow with the land and complement indigenous vegetation and the landscape around. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 18 Aug. 2021 Walls are double adobe, 18 inches thick, and keep the heat at bay. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 17 July 2021

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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adobe brown

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Last Updated

28 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adobe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for adobe



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

More from Merriam-Webster on adobe

Nglish: Translation of adobe for Spanish Speakers

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


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