Word of the Day : November 6, 2018

umbrage

play
noun UM-brij

Definition

1 : a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult

2 : shady branches : foliage

3 : shade, shadow

4 a : an indistinct indication : vague suggestion : hint

b : a reason for doubt : suspicion

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 William 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."


Examples

"Often, after an active morning, she would spend a sunny afternoon in lying stirless on the turf, at the foot of some tree of friendly umbrage." — Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849

"If you can find one of these big roosts, the birds are quite entertaining to watch. When they settle in for the evening, they're noisy and quarrelsome and seem to take umbrage at many things." — Jim Wright, The Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey), 26 July 2018



Word Family Quiz

Unscramble the letters to create a word that is a descendant of Latin umbra and means "to foreshadow vaguely" or "to suggest partially": EATDAURBM.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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