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[a-duhm-breyt, ad-uh m-breyt]
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verb (used with object), ad·um·brat·ed, ad·um·brat·ing.
  1. to produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch.
  2. to foreshadow; prefigure.
  3. to darken or conceal partially; overshadow.
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Origin of adumbrate

1575–85; < Latin adumbrātus shaded (past participle of adumbrāre), equivalent to ad- ad- + umbr(a) shade, shadow + -ātus -ate1
Related formsad·um·bra·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for adumbration


verb (tr)
  1. to outline; give a faint indication of
  2. to foreshadow
  3. to overshadow; obscure
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Derived Formsadumbration, nounadumbrative (ædˈʌmbrətɪv), adjectiveadumbratively, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin adumbrātus represented only in outline, from adumbrāre to cast a shadow on, from umbra shadow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for adumbration


1530s, from Latin adumbrationem (nominative adumbratio) "a sketch in shadow, sketch, outline," noun of action from past participle stem of adumbrare "to cast a shadow, overshadow, represent (a thing) in outline," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + umbrare "to cast in shadow," from PIE *andho- "blind, dark" (see umbrage).

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"to outline, to sketch," 1580s, from Latin adumbratus "sketched, shadowed in outline," past participle of adumbrare "to represent (a thing) in outline" (see adumbration). Meaning "to overshadow" is 1660s. Related: Adumbrated; adumbrating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper