Definition of adumbrate
adumbrationplay \ˌa-(ˌ)dəm-ˈbrā-shən\ noun
adumbrativeplay \a-ˈdəm-brə-tiv\ adjective
adumbrate was our Word of the Day on 07/22/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of adumbrate in a sentence
the strife in Bloody Kansas in the 1850s adumbrated the civil war that would follow
Did You Know?
You aren't likely to find "adumbrate" in children's stories or on the sports pages. That's not because this shady word is somehow off-color, but rather because it tends to show up most often in academic or political writing. In fact, some usage commentators find it too hard for "ordinary" use (although they are hard-pressed to define "ordinary"). Art and literary critics have long found it useful, and it's a definite candidate for those oft-published "lists of words you should know" (especially for vocabulary tests). You might remember "adumbrate" better if you know that it developed from the Latin verb adumbrare, which in turn comes from "umbra," the Latin word for "shadow." To "adumbrate," then, is to offer a shadowy view of something.
Origin and Etymology of adumbrate
Latin adumbratus, past participle of adumbrare, from ad- + umbra shadow — more at umbrage
First Known Use: 1537
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