Definition of umber in English:

umber

noun

  • 1mass noun A natural pigment resembling but darker than ochre, normally dark yellowish-brown in colour (raw umber) or dark brown when roasted (burnt umber).

    • ‘For the nine paintings in this exhibition, Howell mixed titanium white, ivory black and raw umber - the raw umber prevents bluing - in carefully calculated ratios to achieve what he calls ‘a movement of gray toward light and dark.’’
    • ‘Natural ochres, siennas, and umbers are found in a range of colours from red, orange, yellow, and brown to virtually black.’
    • ‘Dark brown umber on bright yellow is featured in one Ziss painting, and purple-inflected blue set against pale green in another.’
    • ‘After laying down discrete patches of dark umber in grid formations, Briggs dragged an unloaded brush through the pigment, leaving behind episodic squiggles that vaguely resemble Chinese characters.’
    • ‘The name of the small river that runs down the combe, the Umber, is a clue to the fact that the mineral pigment, umber, also used to be dug and processed in the village.’
    • ‘When Claude Monet wanted a brown, he typically mixed it from primary colors rather than using traditional earth pigments such as sienna and umber.’
    • ‘With horizontal swaths of greens and umber on their lower portions and lightening shades of blue at the top, the paintings suggest landscapes.’
    • ‘I don't use Raw Umber nearly enough.’
    • ‘Beneath them, swimming between steel ribs which are now covered in sponges, you will usually see a shoal of black umbers.’
    • ‘Supergene, manganiferous clay umbers are intimately associated with both the iron and barite deposits.’
    • ‘As will be seen from the chemical analysis of raw umber, it contains quite a high percentage of manganese dioxide.’
    • ‘In such works as Maternity (c. 1892; New York, MoMa), painted in a narrow range of umbers, he cultivated a technique in which form was dissolved in a mysterious and misty haze.’
    • ‘I recall seeing bundles of this bleached umber root in the markets of Kathmandu, and have watched villagers harvest it in the high pastures of Dolpo in western Nepal.’
    • ‘Raw Umber came to prominence as an Italian pigment and it is named by the Italian word for shadow or darkness.’
    • ‘What this means is that when this umber is combined with any good, saturated colour, that other colour will lose most of it's gray properties.’
    hazel, chocolate-coloured, coffee-coloured, cocoa-coloured, nut-brown
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    1. 1.1 Either of the colours of umber.
      as modifier ‘the village is built entirely of crumbling umber limestone’
      • ‘Luke let out a breath of relief when Katie was placed in his group, along with a quiet girl with solemn, dark eyes and curly umber hair.’
      • ‘My hair was a deep umber, slicked back in a way that almost resembled ruffled bird feathers, and my face was angular and clean shaven, in stark contrast to the round, softened faces of the three in the diner.’
      • ‘We moved cautiously along the rambling hothouse path, peeking over umber birds of paradise and split palm fronds and under deep flowering trees nearly impossible to imagine in the arid climate just outside the glass.’
      • ‘Delicately cut, layered slate walls, umbers and the sepia tint curved metal bar place you firmly somewhere in Eastern Europe.’
      • ‘The air is heavy with the scent of dates and rain, and the umber of the dunes is brilliant against the grim sky.’
      • ‘The face is that of a lady with rich umber hair like smooth piano wire.’
      • ‘Methodical studies in a sketchbook show the results of stumbling various colors over a dark red composed of cadmium red and umber.’
      • ‘His winsome smile brought a sparkle to his umber eyes and caused his cousin to chuckle.’
      • ‘His work was dominated by the dark colours of umber and ochre.’
      • ‘The paintings seem at first to be sombre in tone, coloured mostly by umbers and sepia-like hues.’
      • ‘The hats obscure the heads or faces of the men who wear them, which are only loosely suggested by umber wash.’
      • ‘In a tobacco tin after capture, the umber yellow mature newts lost their leopard spots, lay grounded as numb as scrolls of candied grapefruit peel.’
      • ‘However, there is an understain of reddish umber that leaks around the forms and masses.’
      • ‘Next season, Madam Oloviah, says it's all about the peaches and burnt umbers.’
      • ‘What was before her was a dying sunset; all of crimson red and burnt umbers.’
      • ‘Areas can also be kept just the reddish brown of the sanguine, umber or black, depending on the artist's wishes.’
      • ‘Candy sat down next to her, throwing her umber hair over her shoulder dramatically.’
      • ‘The two forms reach toward the center of the canvas, where a cluster of black tear- or spermlike shapes converge on an umber vortex.’
      • ‘But there is something easeful and secure about this uncluttered room with its warm umber banquettes.’
      • ‘He also extended his gamut of colours to include umbers and siennas; transparent oxides as well.’
      • ‘This generally quiet area features sun-drenched murals in gold, umber, and burnt red.’
      • ‘Her dark, umber brown hair was tied up, yet still the long ponytail reached almost four inches over her shoulder.’
      • ‘The form of the majestic eagle grew dim, flickering blurrily, until superimposed upon it appeared the image of a noble, high-browed elf with hair of dark umber.’
      • ‘This painting presents another strange, thickly painted beastie, this one a squidlike creature that makes its way through a thinly painted umber field toward ribbons of rainbowlike color.’
      • ‘Perhaps eyes painted without black pupils seem ghostly but the painterly dabs of umber tones definitely bring this woman back to earth.’
      • ‘It resembled a five-story, refurbished manor house with umber bricks and large turrets.’
      • ‘There was an umber and ozone odor, like lightning striking the loam of a farmer's field.’
      • ‘Its outer edges are layered, almost smooth, with mixed colors ranging from saddlebag tan to dark umber.’
      • ‘Cassie can't help turning a deep shade of umber.’
      • ‘This open, umber landscape will be complemented, however, by a complex, labyrinthine village-scape.’
      • ‘The wall of umber air thins for a span and the city sharpens.’
      • ‘I turned back towards the gate, and in one motion swung myself up to the top, balancing on the apex for just a moment as I glanced back at him, stubborn golden brown eyes meeting equally willful dark umber.’
      • ‘Characteristically he painted in thick impasto, mainly with a palette knife and generally in subdued ochre and umber tones.’
      • ‘Across the island, the lush green taro is replaced by the copper and umber striations of Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, whose colors grow red in the late afternoon light.’
      • ‘Poussin perpetuates the convention, which goes back as far as the Pompeian frescoes, of burnished umber men and pearly women.’
      • ‘Wood grain and parquetry are abbreviated using forceful umber lines.’
      • ‘His hair was an umber mass of spikes, and his eyes were like two chips of obsidian, giving him a somewhat sinister look.’
      • ‘It may be added that the dorsal spine shows brightly in the water, forming a conspicuous anterior rime to the dorsal fin, whose remaining margin, in reality of a dark umber, now appears jet-black.’
      • ‘He had umber locks of silky hair and he wore beautiful clothing in the fashion of their culture.’
      • ‘The Earl was wearing a grey pinstripe suit and the Countess a black coat with matching umber scarf, handbag and shoes.’
      • ‘As a reaction Jazlyn pulled Peter into a hug, smoothing his umber hair.’
      • ‘The green ring around SurfSea had now changed to hues of yellow and umber: the colours of the fast approaching autumn.’
      • ‘Nicolaus had managed to capture the glint of bronze in her deep umber strands.’
      • ‘Signe searched for Flynn amongst the sea of unknown faces and soon spotted the light grey eyes and umber hair at the head of a table, reserved and calculating as usual.’
      • ‘I saw Lady Harcourt turn a rather unattractive shade of umber… she was THAT angry.’
      • ‘‘When I paint a realistic Los Angeles sky, Sanchez says during my visit prior to the event, ‘I use earth colors - usually raw umber and raw sienna.’’
  • 2A brownish moth with colouring that resembles tree bark.

    Several species in the family Geometridae

    • ‘At least two other moths, the mottled umber moth (Erannis. defoliaria), and the March moth (Alsophila aescularia) have wingless females.’
    • ‘A mottled umber moth found its way onto a Glasgow window.’
    • ‘The larva of the mottled umber moth is a reddish brown caterpillar that eats the leaves of oak trees and shrubs.’
    greyish-brown, brownish, dun-coloured, mud-coloured, mouse-coloured, mousy, muddy, khaki, umber
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 16th century: from French (terre d')ombre or Italian (terra di) ombra, literally ‘(earth of) shadow’, from Latin umbra ‘shadow’ or Umbra (feminine) ‘Umbrian’.

Pronunciation

umber

/ˈʌmbə/