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[a-duhm-breyt, ad-uh m-breyt] /æˈdʌm breɪt, ˈæd əmˌbreɪt/
verb (used with object), adumbrated, adumbrating.
to produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch.
to foreshadow; prefigure.
to darken or conceal partially; overshadow.
Origin of adumbrate
1575-85; < Latin adumbrātus shaded (past participle of adumbrāre), equivalent to ad- ad- + umbr(a) shade, shadow + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
adumbration, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for adumbration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Newman was the true priest, and Froude recognized his genius and that his soul was "an adumbration of the Divine."

  • On the evolutionist interpretation this is an adumbration of the actual genealogical tree or Stammbaum.

    Herbert Spencer J. Arthur Thomson
  • Here has been seen an adumbration of natural selection: he himself admits the difficulty he has in making it clear.

    Schopenhauer Thomas Whittaker
  • We get thus far in the adumbration of Essentia that it is the subject of all predicates, but never itself a predicate.

    Aristotle George Grote
  • But an image is but an image still, and can be but an adumbration or shadow of the true Perfect Being.

    The Existence of God Francois de Salignac de La Mothe- Fenelon
  • You cannot do it; unless indeed in Isaac's Sacrifice you are content to find the adumbration of the scene on Calvary.

  • Every nerve centre must be prepared to express any adumbration of plasticity.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • There is no explanation, for instance, in calling beauty an adumbration of divine attributes.

    The Sense of Beauty George Santayana
  • Men never move to the adumbration of general right until the conquest of political rights has been proved inadequate.

British Dictionary definitions for adumbration


verb (transitive)
to outline; give a faint indication of
to foreshadow
to overshadow; obscure
Derived Forms
adumbration, noun
adumbrative (ædˈʌmbrətɪv) adjective
adumbratively, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin adumbrātus represented only in outline, from adumbrāre to cast a shadow on, from umbra shadow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adumbration

1530s, from Latin adumbrationem (nominative adumbratio) "a sketch in shadow, sketch, outline," noun of action from past participle stem of adumbrare "to cast a shadow, overshadow, represent (a thing) in outline," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + umbrare "to cast in shadow," from PIE *andho- "blind, dark" (see umbrage).



"to outline, to sketch," 1580s, from Latin adumbratus "sketched, shadowed in outline," past participle of adumbrare "to represent (a thing) in outline" (see adumbration). Meaning "to overshadow" is 1660s. Related: Adumbrated; adumbrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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