[ uhm-ber ]
See synonyms for: umberumbers on

  1. an earth consisting chiefly of a hydrated oxide of iron and some oxide of manganese, used in its natural state as a brown pigment (raw umber ) or, after heating, as a reddish-brown pigment (burnt umber ).

  2. the color of such a pigment; dark dusky brown or dark reddish brown.

  1. Ichthyology. the European grayling, Thymallus thymallus.

  2. North England Dialect. shade; shadow.

  1. of the color umber.

verb (used with object)
  1. to color with or as if with umber.

Origin of umber

1250–1300; Middle English umbre, umber shade, shadow <Old French umbre<Latin umbra; in sense “earth” <French terre d'ombre or Italian terra di ombra

Words Nearby umber Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use umber in a sentence

  • It’s crisp but not too cold, the leaves recently changed from verdant green to shades of umber and crimson, and they’re gently falling all around you.

    It’s Cheddar Weather Somewhere | Dayna Evans | September 22, 2021 | Eater
  • The eggs number from four to six, and are of a grey colour, speckled with light umber-brown.

  • The eggs number two, dark olive-brown, or buffish-brown, spotted somewhat sparingly with blackish-brown and umber-brown.

  • The tapestries of the wall were umber and gold; the hangings of the bed and windows were a modulated purple.

    The Bastonnais | John Lesperance
  • Not now could the lure of his well-loved ocean appeal to him, for all the wonders of the umber and dull orange west.

    Cursed | George Allan England
  • Ground color of upperparts deep umber-brown, very finely and densely vermiculated; chest barred with bright tawny brown and black.

British Dictionary definitions for umber


/ (ˈʌmbə) /

  1. any of various natural brown earths containing ferric oxide together with lime and oxides of aluminium, manganese, and silicon: See also burnt umber

  2. any of the dark brown to greenish-brown colours produced by this pigment

  1. short for umber moth

  2. obsolete

    • shade or shadow

    • any dark, dusky, or indefinite colour

  1. of, relating to, or stained with umber

Origin of umber

C16: from French (terre d') ombre or Italian (terra di) ombra shadow (earth), from Latin umbra shade

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