Definition of umbrella in English:



  • 1A device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain or sometimes sun.

    • ‘His hair was neatly combed back, and he held an umbrella over his head.’
    • ‘This is a dog that is scared of water, umbrellas and her own reflection in the mirror.’
    • ‘Many of the traditions survive in the modern firm: liveried commissionaires still take visitors' soggy umbrellas and hand them back, dried and furled, when they leave.’
    • ‘To ward off trouble, cobras can rear up, and they have hoods that expand out like a half umbrella to make themselves appear bigger and scarier than they actually are.’
    • ‘If your container leaks onto the table too much when you water it, remove the umbrella and move the container to the patio floor.’
    • ‘Elaine stood several feet away under an umbrella, her face pale and strained.’
    • ‘I stayed in the sun for twenty minutes on each side before moved under the umbrella to put on my sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.’
    • ‘A few feet away, Ethan had slipped out of his jacket and was holding it over his head like an umbrella, making a face.’
    • ‘As he turned back toward the house, Desmond suddenly appeared at his side, the blond hair atop his head soaked and matted to the sides of his face, despite the umbrella in his hands.’
    • ‘Spots were definitely in fashion today, what with the beads of water on coats, umbrellas, glasses, bags, clothes and windscreens.’
    • ‘Yet as I pack a bag to hold water and umbrellas and tissue paper, I'm quite aware that the three hours will not feel like that.’
    • ‘The central plastic handle can be pushed to one side to allow for maximum coverage space and can also be moved to collapse the umbrella.’
    • ‘There were no umbrellas, and the water was still a bit cold (not to mention so clear, you could see the shells on the sea floor).’
    • ‘Mikhail hadn't made a move to open the umbrella until now.’
    • ‘We prepare for the rain and the heat by hauling out the umbrellas and moving into the shade.’
    • ‘But nearer the water are tiny umbrellas and beach towels.’
    • ‘Heart pounding in her ears and squaring her shoulders, Carolyn held the umbrella steady as she moved toward the back of the house.’
    • ‘These street riders could be easily distinguished by their gaudy Western-style umbrellas, as contrasted to the slender parasols which female students often carried.’
    • ‘A threadbare khadi jhola hangs over his shoulder, an umbrella in his hand.’
    • ‘The ubiquitous water feature is well represented - ideas include a water umbrella, an octopus garden and a clock that drips instead of ticks.’
    • ‘Most species, however, do not have polyp leaves, and look more like clubs, umbrellas, or pinwheels.’
    • ‘She decided to open the umbrella once Soo Lin turned to face her, so the umbrella would expand in her face.’
    • ‘A well-balanced living room opens out onto the beach - complete with distant hills, beach umbrellas and blue water.’
    • ‘According to a salesman, bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, umbrellas for kids and pencil boxes are the most in-demand items.’
    parasol, sunshade
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  • 2A protecting force or influence.

    ‘the American nuclear umbrella over the West’
    • ‘That is why they have forces in South Korea and have provided a defence umbrella for Japan so it would not re-arm.’
    • ‘Evidence regarding the general lifestyle of Mr. Vancurenko in the community is not information that is protected under the umbrella of the homicide investigation.’
    • ‘Which is the largest and most powerful protective umbrella for the forces of evil and corruption in that country?’
    • ‘Also due to the meagre treatment and rehabilitation facilities, the family must act as an umbrella to protect, nurture and sustain its members.’
    • ‘They did not want to be brought under the umbrellas of power and control of the GAA; instead they wanted to hold onto their own independence and autonomy.’
    • ‘National sovereignty no longer serves as a protective umbrella for vicious government actions, which are subject to prosecution so that human rights and justice may be upheld.’
    • ‘But that doesn't mean that they're all tied together and under the umbrella of one huge force.’
    • ‘It will provide a defensive umbrella for forces ashore in a contested theater and even on American shores themselves.’
    • ‘That umbrella of care is a reassurance to the residents themselves and the relatives and friends who need to know that their loved ones are within easy reach of assistance and neither isolated nor alone.’
    • ‘But the new plan goes much further, placing controversial American military hardware on UK soil while including Britain in its protective umbrella.’
    • ‘You can't always count on the US umbrella to protect you when it starts to rain.’
    • ‘We look forward to seeing this area brought under a protective umbrella and hope that the area can be made suitable for camping, whilst protecting it at the same time.’
    • ‘This work is co-ordinated by a regional umbrella task force in Killarney, Kenmare, Killorglin and Caherciveen.’
    • ‘At the time, certain police cadres inside the Fuzhou City government provided a protective umbrella for those evil forces who were not brought to justice for a long time.’
    • ‘After a few months, Feau was ready to make a move from under the umbrella of his mentor.’
    • ‘That country loves the him because he holds the umbrella that protects it from its enemies.’
    • ‘But the deal sees the snuggling up of the two airlines under the one umbrella so as to protect the many bilaterals the two countries have with other countries around the world.’
    • ‘The invisible Van Allen belts that circle Earth in a region known as the magnetosphere trap much of this radiation and serve as an umbrella that protects people in low Earth orbit or below.’
    • ‘The Americans are the umbrella that protects them from everything.’
    • ‘Federal law extends the protective umbrella of marriage to life and death benefits that go far beyond the estate protections provided by these three states.’
    patronage, aegis, protection, guidance, support, backing, guardianship, trusteeship, sponsorship, supervision, influence, control, charge, responsibility, keeping, care
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    1. 2.1A screen of fighter aircraft or antiaircraft artillery.
      • ‘A missile defence umbrella could cost billions.’
      • ‘Only when they saw the umbrella of anti-aircraft blossoms did they realize the truth.’
      • ‘After the war ended, they moved the umbrella to the edge of the Canal where it would be more effective against the IAF.’
      • ‘Under the umbrella, U.S. forces with nuclear-equipped ballistic missiles, strikers and submarines will strike enemies that attack U.S. allies.’
      • ‘The A - 10s formed a protective umbrella over the task force.’
      • ‘Streaming contrails, the Thunderbolts lazily S-turned over the bomber formation - providing an umbrella for the lumbering Boeings.’
  • 3[usually as modifier] A thing that includes or contains many different elements or parts.

    ‘an umbrella organization’
    • ‘This was part of the war between Telkom and private ISPs which joined forces under the ISPA umbrella.’
    • ‘I now consider these women's engagement in the wider context of the national Catholic umbrella organization, the mfSVM.’
    • ‘A rather broad discipline, astrobiology is barely five years old, yet it has become the umbrella under which a great deal of space science is conducted.’
    • ‘This year's line-up is spread over four nights and spans a variety of influences under the jazz umbrella.’
    • ‘The bill will become an umbrella for water management if passed into law.’
    • ‘In 1991, Geraldine Connell became the first manager of the Holy Angels as the centre moved further under the umbrella of the health board.’
    • ‘So would you support sending in U.S. troops, U.S. Marines, as part of some sort of international peacekeeping force perhaps under the U.N. umbrella?’
    • ‘These are umbrella terms, which cover several specific conditions.’
    • ‘The theory that the CPC will eventually evolve into an umbrella party which covers different factions within the party like Japan's LDP isn't new.’
    • ‘Germany aims to place its 16 police forces under one umbrella.’
    • ‘The influential UOIF is one of the main groups comprising the umbrella French Council for the Muslim Religion.’
    • ‘Courts have correctly expanded the umbrella of the First Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment.’
    • ‘It's not a word you'll find in the reams of material written on the pros and cons of intellectual property, the umbrella system that protects patents.’
    • ‘The café is run under the umbrella of United Response, the same organisation that brings a remarkable carol service to York Minster each December.’
    • ‘The trust was also taken into supervision by the umbrella Bradford Community Housing Trust Group, to ‘maintain the stability’ of the board.’
    • ‘He thinks that the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 will still provide an umbrella for the birds if they are removed from the endangered species list.’
    • ‘Autism is an umbrella term covering a wide variety of disorders that cause a huge range of different symptoms in different people.’
    • ‘It has become a data mining operation, providing a suite of corporate programs under the umbrella of ‘Fusion Marketing’ services.’
    • ‘In 1998, the Awards Program was reorganized under the umbrella of The Benjamin Franklin Medals.’
    aegis, auspices, patronage, championship, protection, safe keeping, protectorship, guardianship, support, guidance, charge, responsibility, care, cover, backing, agency
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  • 4Zoology
    The gelatinous disk of a jellyfish, which it contracts and expands to move through the water.

    • ‘Right under that umbrella is the mouth.’
    • ‘Young gadoid fish, which have been observed sheltering beneath jellyfish (Scyphozoa and Hydrozoa) umbrellas.’
    • ‘The only opening in a jellyfish is the mouth which everyone sees when they look at the umbrella of the jellyfish.’
    • ‘The mouth is usually on the concave side, and the tentacles originate on the rim of the umbrella.’


Early 17th century: from Italian ombrella, diminutive of ombra shade from Latin umbra (see umbra).