[ am-ber ]
/ ˈæm bər /


a pale yellow, sometimes reddish or brownish, fossil resin of vegetable origin, translucent, brittle, and capable of gaining a negative electrical charge by friction and of being an excellent insulator: used for making jewelry and other ornamental articles.
the yellowish-brown color of resin.


of the color of amber; yellowish-brown: amber fields of grain.
made of amber: amber earrings.



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Origin of amber

1350–1400; Middle English ambre<Old French <Medieval Latin ambra<Arabic ʿanbar ambergris; confusion of the dissimilar substances perhaps because both were rare, valuable, and found on seacoasts


am·ber·like, am·ber·y, am·ber·ous, adjective

Definition for amber (2 of 2)

[ am-ber ]
/ ˈæm bər /


a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for amber

British Dictionary definitions for amber

/ (ˈæmbə) /


  1. a yellow or yellowish-brown hard translucent fossil resin derived from extinct coniferous trees that occurs in Tertiary deposits and often contains trapped insects. It is used for jewellery, ornaments, etc
  2. (as modifier)an amber necklace Related adjective: succinic
fly in amber a strange relic or reminder of the past
  1. a medium to dark brownish-yellow colour, often somewhat orange, similar to that of the resin
  2. (as adjective)an amber dress
an amber traffic light used as a warning between red and green

Word Origin for amber

C14: from Medieval Latin ambar, from Arabic `anbar ambergris
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

Scientific definitions for amber

[ ămbər ]

A hard, translucent, brownish-yellow substance that is the fossilized resin of ancient trees. It often contains fossil insects.

A Closer Look

Certain trees, especially conifers, produce a sticky substance called resin to protect themselves against insects. Normally, it decays in oxygen through the action of bacteria. However, if the resin happens to fall into wet mud or sand containing little oxygen, it can harden and eventually fossilize, becoming the yellowish, translucent substance known as amber. If any insects or other organisms are trapped in the resin before it hardens, they can be preserved, often in exquisite detail. By studying these preserved organisms, scientists are able learn key facts about life on Earth millions of years ago.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.