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 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 Neighbors in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato flocked to a small adobe shed to buy packs of 10 for 10 pesos, Miguel said. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Taqueria Maya owners open Mexican restaurant with a millennial twist in railyard," 12 July 2018 After bringing in a famed adobe architect from Santa Fe, a contractor from Taos, and a staff of 22 to make and assemble the 80,000 mud and straw bricks, the project went over budget. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Pair game meat and period cocktails in Colorado," 13 June 2018 Packard said the adobe-style resort has seen no impact from the forest closure and credited authorities with putting up signs telling visitors that local businesses are open. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona force closure of large chunks of forest," 12 June 2018 Also up for grabs? Real-life lessons in harvesting, adobe brick building, caring for livestock and beekeeping. Lindsay Cohn, USA TODAY, "Agriturismo, American style: 8 farm and food experiences in the USA," 15 June 2018 Some of the therapy took place an hour outside Scottsdale in Wickenburg (population: 6,300) at Gentle Path at the Meadows: an inpatient, men-only 38-acre compound of adobe cabins and cactuses. Amy Chozick, New York Times, "Where’s Harvey?," 9 Mar. 2018 His gaze took in the sun-beaten, gray adobe buildings, all one-story structures, that rimmed the vacant quadrangle. Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Elmore Leonard: Westerns' celebrates Leonard's mastery of the genre," 5 June 2018 It was marked as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as Peoria's only example of a traditional adobe structure. Laura Gómez, azcentral, "Are officials erasing history or sparking rebirth in Old Town Peoria?," 18 May 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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The first known use of adobe was in 1748

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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 \

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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Comments on adobe

What made you want to look up adobe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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