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 umber (audio) \

Definition of umber (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to darken with or as if with umber

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 The rich umber wood used throughout is also a nod to the past. Bridget Arsenault, Forbes, 10 July 2022 Governor Sarhadi, a spare-looking man with a gray beard, wore a black turban and a short umber shawl, called a patou. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 And two similar shades, a pinkish umber and warm copper, are both in stock at Amazon. Jessica Leigh Mattern,, 10 Sep. 2021 Her skin was a shade or two darker than Nella's chestnut complexion, falling somewhere between hickory and umber. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, 1 June 2021 Burlap and Barrel’s version, which is made from a particular variety of tomato grown along the coastline of the Aegean Sea in Turkey and dried in the sun, on the other hand, is an orangey-umber color, with a saltier, tangier taste. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 12 Apr. 2021 The brown pigment umber (obtained from a dark brown clay) is caused by the combination of two color molecules: iron oxides (which have a rusty red-brown color) and manganese oxides (which add a darker black-brown color). Science Buddies, Scientific American, 14 May 2015 Ultramarine and burnt umber combine into a distinctly sweet and mysterious black. New York Times, 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,, 11 Dec. 2019 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

15 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Umber.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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