Definition of umber in English:


Line breaks: umber
Pronunciation: /ˈʌmbə


1 [mass noun] A natural pigment resembling but darker than ochre, normally dark yellowish-brown in colour ( raw umber) or dark brown when roasted ( burnt umber).
More example sentences
  • Dark brown umber on bright yellow is featured in one Ziss painting, and purple-inflected blue set against pale green in another.
  • For the nine paintings in this exhibition, Howell mixed titanium white, ivory black and raw umber - the raw umber prevents bluing - in carefully calculated ratios to achieve what he calls ‘a movement of gray toward light and dark.’
  • Natural ochres, siennas, and umbers are found in a range of colours from red, orange, yellow, and brown to virtually black.
1.1Either of the colours of umber: [as modifier]: the village is built entirely of crumbling umber limestone
More example sentences
  • This open, umber landscape will be complemented, however, by a complex, labyrinthine village-scape.
  • Poussin perpetuates the convention, which goes back as far as the Pompeian frescoes, of burnished umber men and pearly women.
  • Wood grain and parquetry are abbreviated using forceful umber lines.
2A brownish moth with colouring that resembles tree bark.
  • Several species in the family Geometridae
More example sentences
  • The larva of the mottled umber moth is a reddish brown caterpillar that eats the leaves of oak trees and shrubs.
  • A mottled umber moth found its way onto a Glasgow window.
  • At least two other moths, the mottled umber moth (Erannis. defoliaria), and the March moth (Alsophila aescularia) have wingless females.


mid 16th century: from French (terre d')ombre or Italian (terra di) ombra, literally '(earth of) shadow', from Latin umbra 'shadow' or Umbra (feminine) 'Umbrian'.

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