um·​brel·​la | \ˌəm-ˈbre-lə, 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

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


The store sells Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern foods under the umbrella of international cuisine.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So the Office of American Innovation was sort of an umbrella group that brought together a lot of these different folks, although all of the efforts of each of these folks also continues independently. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Matt Cutts of the U.S. Digital Service on Recode Decode," 12 July 2018 At the moment, only 20 percent of global e-waste is properly recycled and documented as such, says Pascal Leroy, head of the WEEE Forum in Brussels, an umbrella group for European producers and recyclers of e-waste. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "'E-waste': Getting grip on a growing global problem," 9 July 2018 Her Christian Democrats are a bulwark against calls to expel his Fidesz party from the European People’s Party, the umbrella group of the continent’s centre-right. The Economist, "Germany’s troubled relations with the Visegrad states show the limits to its power," 14 June 2018 Ali Abous, head of an umbrella group for 15 unions and professional associations with half a million members, says a strike is planned for Wednesday. Fox News, "Jordan unions call strike, part of protests against tax hike," 3 June 2018 Al Nusra became the dominant force in Idlib in 2017 and formed a new umbrella group that drew fighters from various factions in the Free Syrian Army. Umar Farooq,, "Syrian forces battling Assad seek unity through the National Army," 14 May 2018 And on Thursday, an umbrella group of black clergy began mass texting links to a political committee's website attacking Annette Taddeo, the Democrat who won Artiles' seat in a September special election. David Smiley, miamiherald, "Signs point to a Frank Artiles comeback campaign for the Florida Senate | Miami Herald," 11 May 2018 Last week, Raimundo Espinoza was removed from the presidency of the Copper Workers’ Federation, an umbrella group for all Codelco unions, after 25 years in the role., "Allergan Confirms in Early Stage of Considering Offer for Shire," 19 Apr. 2018 Tuesday's push for an amendment has its roots with an umbrella group called The Kansas Coalition For Fair Funding. Hunter Woodall And Jonathan Shorman, kansascity, "Kansas Senate leaders slam brakes on school finance work after House OKs plan | The Kansas City Star," 3 Apr. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for umbrella

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for umbrella

The first known use of umbrella was in 1611

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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 \

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

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Comments on umbrella

What made you want to look up umbrella? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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