Definition of umber in English:

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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).
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.
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'.

Words that rhyme with umber

Columba, cumber, encumber, Humber, lumbar, lumber, number, outnumber, rumba, slumber

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: umber

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