Definition of umbrella in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ʌmˈbrɛlə/


1A device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain.
Example sentences
  • Yet as I pack a bag to hold water and umbrellas and tissue paper, I'm quite aware that the three hours will not feel like that.
  • If your container leaks onto the table too much when you water it, remove the umbrella and move the container to the patio floor.
  • She decided to open the umbrella once Soo Lin turned to face her, so the umbrella would expand in her face.
parasol, sunshade
British informal brolly
North American informal bumbershoots
British informal, dated gamp
2A protecting force or influence: Europe sought a measure of independence from the US defence umbrella
More example sentences
  • At the time, certain police cadres inside the Fuzhou City government provided a protective umbrella for those evil forces who were not brought to justice for a long time.
  • That is why they have forces in South Korea and have provided a defence umbrella for Japan so it would not re-arm.
  • But that doesn't mean that they're all tied together and under the umbrella of one huge force.
2.1A screen of fighter aircraft or anti-aircraft artillery.
Example sentences
  • Only when they saw the umbrella of anti-aircraft blossoms did they realize the truth.
  • Streaming contrails, the Thunderbolts lazily S-turned over the bomber formation - providing an umbrella for the lumbering Boeings.
  • After the war ended, they moved the umbrella to the edge of the Canal where it would be more effective against the IAF.
3 [usually as modifier] A thing that includes or contains many different elements or parts: the umbrella body for more than 100 training organizations
More example sentences
  • I now consider these women's engagement in the wider context of the national Catholic umbrella organization, the mfSVM.
  • Autism is an umbrella term covering a wide variety of disorders that cause a huge range of different symptoms in different people.
  • These are umbrella terms, which cover several specific conditions.
aegis, auspices, patronage, championship, protection, safe keeping, protectorship, guardianship, support, guidance, charge, responsibility, care, cover, backing, agency
4 Zoology The gelatinous disc of a jellyfish, which it contracts and expands to move through the water.
Example sentences
  • The mouth is usually on the concave side, and the tentacles originate on the rim of the umbrella.
  • The only opening in a jellyfish is the mouth which everyone sees when they look at the umbrella of the jellyfish.
  • Right under that umbrella is the mouth.



Pronunciation: /ʌmˈbrɛləd/
Example sentences
  • The umbrellaed tables in the cafe-lounge are separated from the dining room by sheer curtains which billow like giant sails on a calm sea.
  • The downtown restaurant with its umbrellaed tables reminded Marianna of a teacup ride stuck in time.
  • This was also at the time when the twenty or so publishing houses were being umbrellaed by big business.


Example sentences
  • Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ is a small deciduous tree (reaching about 6ft tall with a similar spread) with an umbrella-like crown of weeping, yellow-brown branches that emerge from the top of a bare trunk.
  • Just as the crooked mass of shiny-leafed buttonbush, and even the swamp dwelling mayapple - its umbrella-like leaves shading sweet yellow fruit - need fire's fertilizing hand, so too does the wildlife.
  • Since then the plant has slowly grown to its full height of 2. 23m and the single umbrella-like petal finally unfurled early yesterday morning.


Early 17th century: from Italian ombrella, diminutive of ombra 'shade', from Latin umbra (see umbra).

  • An umbrella is strictly a sunshade. The word came from Italy in the early 17th century, and goes back to Latin umbra ‘shade’. Britain's wet weather meant that not much more than twenty years after the word's first appearance an umbrella became something to keep the rain off. Another word from umbra is umbrage (Late Middle English), as in take umbrage or take offence. An early sense was ‘a shadowy outline’, which then gave rise to ‘a ground for suspicion’ and led to the current sense.

Words that rhyme with umbrella

a cappella, Arabella, Bella, bestseller, Capella, cellar, Cinderella, citronella, Clarabella, corella, Daniela, Della, dispeller, dweller, Ella, expeller, favela, fella, fellah, feller, Fenella, Floella, foreteller, Heller, impeller, interstellar, Keller, Louella, Mandela, mortadella, mozzarella, Nigella, novella, paella, panatella, patella, predella, propeller, queller, quinella, repeller, rosella, rubella, salmonella, Santiago de Compostela, seller, smeller, speller, Stella, stellar, tarantella, teller, Viyella

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: um|brella

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.