um·​brel·​la | \ ˌəm-ˈbre-lə How to pronounce umbrella (audio) , especially Southern ˈəm-ˌbre- \

Definition of umbrella

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a collapsible shade for protection against weather consisting of fabric stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole especially : a small one for carrying in the hand
2 : something which covers or embraces a broad range of elements or factors decided to expand … by building new colleges under a federation umbrella— Diane Ravitch
3 : the bell-shaped or saucer-shaped largely gelatinous structure that forms the chief part of the body of most jellyfishes : bell entry 1 sense 3b
4 : something which provides protection: such as
a : defensive air cover (as over a battlefront)
b : a heavy barrage


umbrellaed; umbrellaing

Definition of umbrella (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to protect, cover, or provide with an umbrella

Examples of umbrella in a Sentence

Noun The store sells Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern foods under the umbrella of international cuisine.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dancers of all styles who are Two-Spirit (an umbrella term for individuals who are both Indigenous and LGBTQ+, and fluidly move between the masculine and feminine) show up in their finest regalia. Christian Allair, Vogue, 2 July 2021 These benefits, previously under an umbrella term of Extra Magic Hours, did not come back when the hotels and theme parks reopened last July after the pandemic shutdown. Dewayne Bevil,, 1 July 2021 But the phrase has come to be used as an umbrella term for any kind of equity work in schools, as well as ideologies that see students solely based on race. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, 30 June 2021 Just remember that the Caribbean is an umbrella term for a region composed of many different countries, so don't leave home without a passport and well-researched plan. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, 30 June 2021 Pulses, the umbrella term for beans, lentils, and chickpeas, provide both protein and fiber-rich carbs. Cynthia Sass, Rd,, 29 June 2021 Bretón prides themself on original designs that cater uniquely to each client, especially clients who are non-binary, an umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not align with the binary of man or woman. Jenna Watson, The Indianapolis Star, 25 June 2021 Rayon is the umbrella term for fibers manufactured from plant cellulose. Good Housekeeping Editors, Good Housekeeping, 24 June 2021 Diversity is an umbrella term, but one important benefit of diverse leadership is maximizing learning, which leads to continuous transformation and the ability to be more adaptive. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 24 June 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of umbrella


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for umbrella


Italian ombrella, modification of Latin umbella, diminutive of umbra

Keep scrolling for more

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best travel accessories of 2021.

Learn More About umbrella

Time Traveler for umbrella

Time Traveler

The first known use of umbrella was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Statistics for umbrella

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Umbrella.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for umbrella



English Language Learners Definition of umbrella

: a device that is used for protection from the rain and sun
: a group or organization that includes many smaller groups
: something that includes several or many different things


um·​brel·​la | \ ˌəm-ˈbre-lə How to pronounce umbrella (audio) \

Kids Definition of umbrella

: a fabric covering stretched over a circular folding frame of rods attached to a pole and used as a protection against rain or sun



Legal Definition of umbrella

: being or relating to a supplemental insurance policy that extends the coverage of an underlying policy on the same risk an umbrella policy umbrella liability insurance


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!