umbra

noun um·bra \ ˈəm-brə \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of umbra

plural umbras or umbrae play \ˈəm-(ˌ)brē, -ˌbrī\
1 a : a conical shadow excluding all light from a given source; specifically : the conical part of the shadow of a celestial body excluding all light from the primary source
b : the central dark part of a sunspot
2 : a shaded area

umbral

play \ˈəm-brəl\ adjective

umbra was our Word of the Day on 07/24/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of umbra in a Sentence

  1. strange noises were coming from the wooded umbra beyond our campfire

  2. during a solar eclipse observers located within the umbra experience a complete blocking of the sun by the moon

Recent Examples of umbra from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'umbra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The Latin word umbra ("shade, shadow") has given English a range of words in addition to "umbra" itself. An umbrella can provide us with shade from the sun. So can an umbrageous tree. (In this case, umbrageous means "affording shade.") The connection to shade or shadow in other "umbra" words is less obvious. When we say someone takes "umbrage," we mean they take offense, but in times past people used the word as a synonym of "shade" or "shadow." The two senses of "umbrage" influenced "umbrageous," which can mean "inclined to take offense easily" as well as "affording shade."

Origin and Etymology of umbra

Latin


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