Definition of adumbrate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈadəmˌbrāt/


[with object] formal
1Report or represent in outline: James Madison adumbrated the necessity that the Senate be somewhat insulated from public passions
More example sentences
  • This latter course, in fact, is already adumbrated at certain junctures in the Opus Postumum.
  • The outlines of the legend of the politically naïve scholar are already adumbrated in the biographical essay Heidegger submitted to the de-Nazification committee in 1945.
  • (Reading across texts for a moment, this idea has been adumbrated in Kundera's earlier book Laughable Loves ).
1.1Indicate faintly: the walls were not more than adumbrated by the meager light
1.2Foreshadow or symbolize: what qualities in Christ are adumbrated by the vine?
More example sentences
  • Toward the middle of her 1928 novel Quicksand, Nella Larsen thematizes her authorial relation to the literary past in a scene that uncannily adumbrates the future demise of her career.
1.3Overshadow: her happy reminiscences were adumbrated by consciousness of something else
More example sentences
  • Consciousness does not perspectivally adumbrate itself.



Pronunciation: /ˌadəmˈbrāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • The predominance of death in the novel is a prophetic adumbration of the real death which will bring the characters to God's love, and Eleanor is granted a vision of this when she meets Leopolda the Catholic nun on the night of the storm.
  • We have remarked on Hahn's adumbrations of this movement in an earlier one, but one senses a disconnect between the end of the ‘Gigue’ and the beginning of the ‘Ciaccona.’
  • John watched the way she moved and the way the fire light played against her warm colored skin, highlighting through the refined weave in the gown she wore and the adumbration beneath the veil.


Pronunciation: /əˈdəmbrətiv/ /ˈadəmˌbrā-/
Example sentences
  • For him language is musical, felicitous, comical, flippant, suggestive, buoyant weaponry and adumbrative of mysteries beyond us.
  • This duet is adumbrative of ‘Trane's last album, Interstellar Space, which comprises duets between ‘Trane and drummer Rashied Ali.
  • Pasolini clearly did not intend Salò as a late work, much as Mozart did not design his requiem as adumbrative lament.


Late 16th century: from Latin adumbrat- 'shaded', from the verb adumbrare, from ad- 'to' (as an intensifier) + umbrare 'cast a shadow' (from umbra 'shade').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ad·um·brate

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