Definition of adumbrate in English:



[with object]formal
  • 1Represent in outline.

    ‘Hobhouse had already adumbrated the idea of a welfare state’
    • ‘As to 5: The answer is plainly ‘Yes’ and for the reasons already adumbrated.’
    • ‘The outlines of the legend of the politically naïve scholar are already adumbrated in the biographical essay Heidegger submitted to the de-Nazification committee in 1945.’
    • ‘Like any short introduction, it does not have time to say very much, but what it does say is enough to adumbrate the major ideas to follow.’
    • ‘This latter course, in fact, is already adumbrated at certain junctures in the Opus Postumum.’
    • ‘(Reading across texts for a moment, this idea has been adumbrated in Kundera's earlier book Laughable Loves ).’
    • ‘Here then, already adumbrated, is the double emphasis on heaven and home, or on home as heaven.’
    • ‘An introduction sketches the book's key terms and thereby adumbrates its themes, especially the principal pair of beauty and the infinite.’
    • ‘Some of the matters I have already adumbrated seem to me to bear upon that.’
    1. 1.1 Indicate faintly.
      ‘the walls were only adumbrated by the meagre light’
      augur, presage, portend, foretell, prophesy, predict
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  • 2Foreshadow (a future event)

    ‘tenors solemnly adumbrate the fate of the convicted sinner’
    • ‘Toward the middle of her 1928 novel Quicksand, Nella Larsen thematizes her authorial relation to the literary past in a scene that uncannily adumbrates the future demise of her career.’
  • 3Overshadow.

    ‘her happy reminiscences were adumbrated by consciousness of something else’
    • ‘Consciousness does not perspectivally adumbrate itself.’
    hide, conceal, cover, veil, shroud, screen, mask, cloak, cast a shadow over, shadow, envelop, mantle, block, block out, blank out, obliterate, eclipse, overshadow
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Late 16th century: from Latin adumbrat- ‘shaded’, from the verb adumbrare, from ad- ‘to’ (as an intensifier) + umbrare ‘cast a shadow’ (from umbra ‘shade’).