[ skuhm-buh l ]
/ ˈskʌm bəl /

verb (used with object), scum·bled, scum·bling.

to soften (the color or tone of a painted area) by overlaying parts with opaque or semiopaque color applied thinly and lightly with an almost dry brush.


the act or technique of scumbling.
the effect produced by this technique.

Origin of scumble

1790–1800; perhaps equivalent to scum (v.) + -le, with intrusive b Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for scumble

/ (ˈskʌmbəl) /


(in painting and drawing) to soften or blend (an outline or colour) with an upper coat of opaque colour, applied very thinly


the upper layer of colour applied in this way
the technique or effects of scumbling

Word Origin for scumble

C18: probably from scum
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