noun um·brage \ ˈəm-brij \
|Updated on: 12 Jul 2018

Definition of umbrage

1 : a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult
  • took umbrage at the speaker's remarks
2 : shady branches : foliage
3 : shade, shadow
4 a : an indistinct indication : vague suggestion : hint
b : a reason for doubt : suspicion

umbrage was our Word of the Day on 07/19/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of umbrage in a Sentence

  1. took umbrage at the slightest suggestion of disrespect

Recent Examples of umbrage from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Deare amber lockes gave umbrage to her face. This line from a poem by William Drummond, published in 1616, uses "umbrage" in its original sense of "shade or shadow," a meaning shared by its Latin source, umbra. ("Umbella," the diminutive form of umbra, means "a sunshade or parasol" in Latin and is an ancestor of our word umbrella.) Beginning in the early 17th century, "umbrage" was also used to mean "a shadowy suggestion or semblance of something," as when Shakespeare, in Hamlet, wrote, "His semblable is his mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more." In the same century, "umbrage" took on the pejorative senses "a shadow of suspicion cast on someone" and "displeasure, offense"; the latter is commonly used today in the phrases "give umbrage" or "take umbrage."

Origin and Etymology of umbrage

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin umbraticum, neuter of umbraticus of shade, from umbratus, past participle of umbrare to shade, from umbra shade, shadow; akin to Lithuanian unksmė shadow

Synonym Discussion of umbrage

offense, resentment, umbrage, pique, dudgeon, huff mean an emotional response to or an emotional state resulting from a slight or indignity. offense implies hurt displeasure.
    • takes deep offense at racial slurs
resentment suggests lasting indignation or ill will.
    • harbored a lifelong resentment of his brother
umbrage may suggest hurt pride, resentment, or suspicion of another's motives.
    • took umbrage at the offer of advice
pique applies to a transient feeling of wounded vanity.
    • in a pique I foolishly declined the invitation
dudgeon suggests an angry fit of indignation.
    • stormed out of the meeting in high dudgeon
huff implies a peevish short-lived spell of anger usually at a petty cause.
    • in a huff he slammed the door

UMBRAGE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of umbrage for English Language Learners

  • : a feeling of being offended by what someone has said or done

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fullness to the point of excess

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