Definition of scumble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈskəmbəl/


[with object]
1Modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect.
Example sentences
  • In each, Krahenbuhl runs a dazzling gamut of painterly techniques: glazing, impasto, scumbling, decalcomania, fluid linear strokes and so on.
  • It is carefully and conscientiously applied: slathered, scumbled, scraped, drawn.
  • His surfaces are extravagantly scumbled and full of ragged pentimenti; the boats look like they are embedded in the water rather than floating on it.
1.1Modify (a drawing) with light shading in pencil or charcoal to give a softer effect.
Example sentences
  • Although the objects were mostly slick and smooth, most chose the cold-press so they could scumble the color over the toothy surface with a beveled pencil.
  • There is scumbling with charcoal at the bottom and at the top, some of it painted over with white.
  • His obituarist in the Gentleman's Magazine said that ‘the picture may almost be mistaken for the original: but closely inspected we find scumbling scratches that have no appearance of eyebrows or nostrils.’


1A thin, opaque coat of paint or layer of shading applied to give a softer or duller effect.
Example sentences
  • Each is divided in half and painted in complementary blue/green and orange/yellow scumbles.
  • By contrast, a rough scumble delineates the areas of textile left showing through them.
  • Gay Madness, ca. 1933, for example, explodes with Dionysian abandon, its flowers (if that's what they are) nearly pure color, with great swabs and scumbles radiating out from them.
1.1The effect produced by scumbling.
Example sentences
  • Had these paintings hung eight feet above the floor, as proposed by the committee, their delicate colors, rich scumbles of light opaque color over dark, and wonderful transparent glazes would have been completely lost to the public.
  • The largest, the 48-by-32-inch Cherry, possesses a mellowing pink scumble over a pale ground.


Late 17th century (as a verb): perhaps a frequentative of the verb scum.

Words that rhyme with scumble

bumble, crumble, fumble, grumble, humble, jumble, mumble, rough-and-tumble, rumble, stumble, tumble, umbel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scum·ble

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