Definition of amber in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Hard translucent fossilized resin originating from extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period, typically yellowish in colour. It has been used in jewellery since antiquity.

    • ‘The best-preserved are those found in amber, which is actually fossilized sap from ancient trees.’
    • ‘Because of its fossil fuel deposits, England was a good source of jet, which, like amber, is a fossil closely related to coal.’
    • ‘Costume jewellery is another omnipresent tourist attraction, but be aware that the amber shops are often tacky and low quality, and amber isn't even local.’
    • ‘The fossilized sap from sweetgum trees, containing ancient and extinct insects, is prized as amber.’
    • ‘The 130-million-year-old spider silk was found in fossilized amber from Lebanon.’
    • ‘By one count, 500 extinct spider species have been found in amber from Europe's Baltic region alone.’
    • ‘If you rub a glass rod with a silk cloth or if you rub a piece of amber with wool, the glass and amber will develop a static charge that can attract small bits of paper or plastic.’
    • ‘One of the reasons the room was sought after by him was that he had been advised by his doctors to spend regular periods in the curative field of amber.’
    • ‘The page includes a nice photo of a Cretaceous insect in amber.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, dinosaurs almost never get trapped in tree amber.’
    • ‘A few fossil slime molds have been found in amber.’
    • ‘This alone should make the book desirable for those interested in amber or aficionados of fossil insects and spiders.’
    • ‘Robin's particular area of interest is amber - he buys and sells amber from all over the world and has opened a small museum in the town.’
    • ‘He jets to concerts, has several luxury cars and collects fossils in prehistoric amber.’
    • ‘When we began our investigations on the amber, we were unaware of the stability of the resin.’
    • ‘The amber had broken loose from its setting, cracked open.’
    • ‘Thirty percent of rough amber is waste, but some waste amber pieces were used to make pressed amber in the Russian factory.’
    • ‘Whether buying the spiced local gingerbread or scouting for the region's best amber, it's hard to resist picking something up.’
    • ‘Amber is one of the better preservatives of DNA, so dinosaur DNA in amber would be good.’
    • ‘Grimaldi studies insect fossils in both amber and stone.’
    1. 1.1A honey-yellow colour typical of amber.
      [as modifier] ‘amber eyes’
      • ‘The dominant colours in his works are blues, greys, pale greens and gloomy ambers.’
      • ‘Her eyes were a light brown, so light they almost looked amber.’
      • ‘The grapes are amber to yellow-green in colour, thin skinned with firm, rich, moderately juicy, finely flavoured flesh.’
      • ‘As she walked over to the console, Krys took note of the small amber light glowing from the edge of the security screen.’
      • ‘Golden amber in colour, the wine takes time to open, but then displays a warm, honeyed aroma with a short, spicy finish.’
      • ‘It was amber, just the colour of his girlfriend's hair when it reflected back the sunlight.’
      • ‘Furniture includes chairs and couches upholstered in amber, magenta, and burgundy.’
      • ‘Even at this time of the year, the very beginning of summer, it sprawls dry, thorny and desiccated, in shades of tan, amber, and a hundred browns.’
      • ‘The phoenix left a fiery trail behind it in the colour of soft amber.’
      • ‘Rastrelli was the first to include the tall narrow mirrors to give the new room the appearance of being completely covered with amber.’
      • ‘It was reported that it took eleven years just to research and revive the old techniques used and to study old photos to match at least thirteen various tints of amber.’
      • ‘The former is awash with vibrant pinks, ambers and gold.’
      • ‘The trees were brightly colored; the golds and reds and ambers of the Harvest.’
      • ‘However, there are some unusual Russian and Balkan sauerkrauts tinted amber with quince and pink with beetroot.’
      • ‘Tony's eyes (Complete with amber contacts) widened and he turned to me.’
      • ‘Red rock canyon walls and deep, sandy washes are painted with enough flaming titian reds and glowing ambers to make a painter weep.’
      • ‘The sun bathed his chestnut brown hair in light, turning it amber.’
      • ‘Although pupils at Belle Vue Boys school used to wear claret and amber uniforms, they are not the civic colours of Manningham or Bradford.’
      • ‘These letters come in three colours - green, amber and red.’
      • ‘He stood amongst them, the dark green and lavender of his house standing out against the soldiers' blues and ambers.’
    2. 1.2A yellow light used as a cautionary signal between green for ‘go’ and red for ‘stop’
      ‘the lights were at amber’
      • ‘On the road, flashing red or amber lights means traffic from all directions has right of way.’
      • ‘He warned that cyclists ran the same risk of being stopped as drivers for going through reds or late ambers.’
      • ‘We will take the time available, looking at the red and green lights and hoping for amber.’
      • ‘As Jim looked at a control pad next to the door leading to the ship a light on it blinked amber, and then turned to green.’
      • ‘The signal lights blinking only amber meant that one hapless policeman made a valiant effort to control traffic which seemed to swamp him from all directions.’
      • ‘The light's been red for about five seconds, your light has just flashed amber and is about to go green, and they're still going through the junction in a nice steady stream of traffic.’
      • ‘I had a dream that the government changed all the traffic lights from red, amber, and green to just red and green.’
      • ‘The judgements are made on a traffic lights system, with red signalling poor standards, amber acceptable and green good.’
      • ‘Turning traffic lights to flash amber is not the answer to congestion and we need to see real progress on the bypass.’
      • ‘Clearly no-one ever taught him what the purpose of those red, amber and green lights is.’
      • ‘The signal, a red, green or amber light to direct traffic to stop, proceed with caution or go, revolutionized traffic control.’
      • ‘She had covered most of the distance when the light turned amber, then green, thus confirming her hypothesis.’
      • ‘They have also set aside funds for flashing amber lights and are currently in consultation with the Department of Education to take this forward.’
      • ‘It's a series of traffic lights - green, amber, and red - that are within the view of the candidates.’
      • ‘The lights changed from amber and then to green.’
      • ‘He hopes the food labelling system, possibly using traffic light red, amber and green warnings, will also help people help themselves.’
      • ‘Projects are rated with red, amber or green lights.’
      yellowish, yellowy, lemon, lemony, amber, gold, golden
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘ambergris’): from Old French ambre, from Arabic ‘anbar ambergris, later amber.