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[uhm-brel-uh] /ʌmˈbrɛl ə/
a light, small, portable, usually circular cover for protection from rain or sun, consisting of a fabric held on a collapsible frame of thin ribs radiating from the top of a carrying stick or handle.
the saucer- or bowl-shaped, gelatinous body of a jellyfish; bell.
something that covers or protects from above, as military aircraft safeguarding surface forces:
an air umbrella.
any general kind of protection:
a price umbrella.
something, as an organization or policy, that covers or encompasses a number of groups or elements.
shaped like or intended to perform the function of an umbrella.
having the quality or function of covering or applying simultaneously to a number of similar items, elements, or groups:
an umbrella organization; umbrella coverage in an insurance policy.
Origin of umbrella
1600-10; 1965-70 for def 7; < Italian ombrella, earlier variant of ombrello < Late Latin umbrella, alteration (with influence of Latin umbra shade) of Latin umbella sunshade. See umbel
Related forms
umbrellaless, adjective
umbrellalike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for umbrella
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The continuous drip from one of the umbrella points down on her back was making her nervous, she said.

    Chicken Little Jane Lily Munsell Ritchie
  • Without hat or umbrella, my companion set off, chatting as we went.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • He strutted eastward swinging his umbrella, his head well back, his eyes half-closed, his massive waistcoat curving regally.

    The Green Rust Edgar Wallace
  • For what purpose this umbrella may have been carried we can only surmise.

  • You oughtn't to talk about stealing or holes in an umbrella.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
British Dictionary definitions for umbrella


a portable device used for protection against rain, snow, etc, and consisting of a light canopy supported on a collapsible metal frame mounted on a central rod
the flattened cone-shaped contractile body of a jellyfish or other medusa
a protective shield or screen, esp of aircraft or gunfire
anything that has the effect of a protective screen or cover
  1. any system or agency that provides centralized organization or general cover for a group of related companies, organizations, etc: dance umbrella
  2. (as modifier): an umbrella fund, umbrella group
Derived Forms
umbrella-like, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Italian ombrella, diminutive of ombra shade; see umbra
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 umbrella

c.1600, first attested in Donne's letters, from Italian ombrello, from Late Latin umbrella, altered (by influence of umbra) from Latin umbella "sunshade, parasol," diminutive of umbra "shade, shadow" (see umbrage).

A sunshade in the Mediterranean, a shelter from the rain in England; in late 17c. usage, usually as an Oriental or African symbol of dignity. Said to have been used by women in England from c.1700; the first rain-umbrella carried by a man there was traditionally c.1760, by Jonas Hathaway, noted traveler and philanthropist. Figurative sense of "authority, unifying quality" (usually in a phrase such as under the umbrella of) is recorded from 1948.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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