Word curio icon

Word Curio

May 24, 2023

Word of the Day: Adumbrate

2 CQ

Word of the Day
: May 24, 2023

\AD-um-brayt\ verb

What It Means

Adumbrate is a formal verb with several meanings that all have to do with figurative shadows. It can mean “to foreshadow vaguely,” as in “a childhood interest in ants that adumbrated a career in biology”; it can mean “to suggest or outline partially,” as in “a few sentences that adumbrate the plan”; and it can mean “to overshadow or obscure,” as in “a cheerfulness not adumbrated by difficult circumstances.”

// The movie's most impressive feat was to pull off a plot twist perfectly adumbrated by one rather forgettable scene.

// The first chapter of the graphic novel deftly adumbrates her earliest memories.

// The joyous occasion was adumbrated by knowledge of what the next day was to bring.

See the entry >

adumbrate in Context

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max