Definition of adumbrate in US English:



[with object]formal
  • 1Report or represent in outline.

    ‘James Madison adumbrated the necessity that the Senate be somewhat insulated from public passions’
    • ‘Some of the matters I have already adumbrated seem to me to bear upon that.’
    • ‘(Reading across texts for a moment, this idea has been adumbrated in Kundera's earlier book Laughable Loves ).’
    • ‘An introduction sketches the book's key terms and thereby adumbrates its themes, especially the principal pair of beauty and the infinite.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here then, already adumbrated, is the double emphasis on heaven and home, or on home as heaven.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As to 5: The answer is plainly ‘Yes’ and for the reasons already adumbrated.’
    • ‘This latter course, in fact, is already adumbrated at certain junctures in the Opus Postumum.’
    1. 1.1 Indicate faintly.
      ‘the walls were not more than adumbrated by the meager light’
      augur, presage, portend, foretell, prophesy, predict
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    2. 1.2 Foreshadow or symbolize.
      ‘what qualities in Christ are adumbrated by the vine?’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 Overshadow.
      ‘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’).