um·​ber | \ ˈəm-bər How to pronounce umber (audio) \

Definition of umber

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a moderate to dark yellowish brown
b : a moderate brown
2 : a brown earth that is darker in color than ocher and sienna because of its content of manganese and iron oxides and is highly valued as a permanent pigment either in the raw or burnt state



Definition of umber (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of umber specifically : of the color of umber


umbered; umbering\ ˈəm-​b(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce umbering (audio) \

Definition of umber (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to darken with or as if with umber

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Did You Know?

The mineral deposits of Italy provided sources of a number of natural pigments, among them umber. Since the late Renaissance, umber has been in great demand as a coloring agent. When crushed and mixed with paint, it produces an olive color known as raw umber; when crushed and burnt, it produces a darker tone known as burnt umber.

Examples of umber in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ultramarine and burnt umber combine into a distinctly sweet and mysterious black. New York Times, "What to See Right Now in New York Art Galleries," 5 Feb. 2020 But in Texas the umber of murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults per 100,000 people is still higher than the national average. Laura Garcia,, "Health report: Texas ranks 34th in the nation," 11 Dec. 2019 Made of amethyst, bone, faience, glass, turquoise, and umber, and including phallic amulets, scarabs, a woman, a dancing satyr, and a head of Dionysus, they are thought to be the treasure box of a sorceress. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 28 Oct. 2019 His palette ran to burnt umber, yellow ocher, burnt sienna, olive green. Los Angeles Times, "Judy Chicago says, ‘I was being erased’ from Southern California art history," 6 Sep. 2019 The program also covers dragonflies and three special concern species — the cobra clubtail, umber shadowdragon, and stygian — are being delisted. Michael P. Norton,, "Bald eagle recovering, two bee species marked as endangered in Mass.," 16 Aug. 2019 Shades of umber, khaki, mud, And other greens beside the Malachite. Ciaran Carson, The New Yorker, "Claude Monet, “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil,” 1880," 12 Aug. 2019 Other pieces are more delicate — a little cup, for instance, with walls like a fine, crisp shell, nests within another, just slightly larger, to yield an intimate meditation in umber and taupe. Leah Ollman,, "Gravel, glass and glaze: The radical ceramics of Masaomi Yasunaga," 5 July 2019 Diablo,’ or ninebark, its green-umber foliage a stand-in for the painting’s landscape. Lindsey Taylor, WSJ, "If the ‘Mona Lisa’ Were Made of Flowers...," 7 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'umber.' 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 umber


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1802, in the meaning defined above


1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for umber


probably from obsolete English, shade, color, from Middle English ombre, umbre shade, shadow, from Anglo-French, from Latin umbra — more at umbrage

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Time Traveler for umber

Time Traveler

The first known use of umber was in 1568

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Last Updated

21 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Umber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for umber


How to pronounce umber (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of umber

: a dark, yellowish brown color

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with umber

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