AskDefine | Define umbrella

Dictionary Definition

umbrella adj : covering or applying simultaneously to a number of similar items or elements or groups; "an umbrella organization"; "umbrella insurance coverage"


1 a lightweight handheld collapsible canopy
2 a formation of military planes maintained over ground operations or targets; "an air umbrella over England"
3 having the function of uniting a group of similar things; "the Democratic Party is an umbrella for many liberal groups"; "under the umbrella of capitalism"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ʌmˈbɹɛlə(ɹ)/ /Vm"brEl@(r)/ a UK
  • Rhymes: -ɛlə


  1. Cloth-covered frame used for protection against rain or sun.
  2. Generally, anything that provides protection. (The fighters provide a defensive air umbrella over the battle group.)
  3. Something that covers a wide range of concepts, ideas, purposes, etc. (The test facility was established under the umbrella of the company's quality program.)
  4. The main body of a jellyfish, excluding the tentacles.


cloth-covered frame used for protection against rain or sun
  • Bosnian: kišobran (rain), suncobran (sun)
  • Croatian: kišobran (rain), suncobran (sun)
  • Czech: deštník (rain), slunečník (sun)
  • Dutch: paraplu, regenscherm
  • Finnish: sateenvarjo (rain), päivänvarjo, aurinkovarjo (sun), varjo (generic)
  • French: parapluie
  • German: Schirm, Sonnenschirm, Regenschirm
  • Greek: ομπρέλα (umpréla); rain:αλεξιβρόχιο (alexivróchio); sun: αλεξήλιο (alexílio)
  • Hungarian: esernyő
  • Interlingua: parapluvia, umbrella
  • Japanese: (かさ, kasa)
  • Kurdish:
  • Norwegian: paraply
  • Polish: parasol (rain), parasolka (sun)
  • Portuguese: guarda-chuva, sombrinha
  • Russian: зонтик, зонт
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: кишобран (rain), сунцобран (sun)
    Roman: kišobran (rain), suncobran (sun)
  • Slovene: dežnik (rain), sončnik (sun)
  • Spanish: parasol, paraguas
  • Swedish: paraply (rain), parasoll (sun)
anything that provides protection
  • Croatian: kišobran
  • Finnish: sateenvarjo
  • German: Schirm
  • Kurdish: که‌پر
  • Norwegian: paraply
  • Spanish: amparo
something that covers a wide range of concepts, ideas, etc.
  • Finnish: sateenvarjo
  • German: Dach
  • Norwegian: paraply
  • Swedish: paraply-
the main body of a jellyfish, excluding the tentacles
  • Finnish: uimakello
  • Russian: купол

Derived terms

Related terms

Extensive Definition

"Parasol" redirects here. For other uses, see Umbrella (disambiguation) and Parasol (disambiguation).
An umbrella or parasol (sometimes colloquially, gamp, brolly, or bumbershoot) is a canopy designed to protect against precipitation or sunlight. The term parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun, and umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain. Often the difference is the material; some parasols are not waterproof. Parasols are often meant to be fixed to one point and often used with patio tables or other outdoor furniture, or on the beach for shelter from the sun. Umbrellas are almost exclusively hand-held portable devices; however, parasols can also be hand-held.
The word umbrella is from the Latin word umbra, which in turn derives from the Ancient Greek ómvros (όμβρος). Its meaning is shade or shadow. Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, used often in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism from the late 19th century.


Umbrella is another term for the parasol, which was first used as a protection against the scorching heat of the sun, "para" meaning stop or shield and "sol" meaning sun. The word "umbrella" has evolved from the Latin "umbella" (and "umbel" is a flat-topped rounded flower) or "umbra," meaning "shaded." In Britain, umbrellas are sometimes called "gamps" after the character Mrs Gamp in the Charles Dickens novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, who was known for often carrying an umbrella.


Middle East

In the sculptures at Nineveh the parasol appears frequently. Austen Henry Layard gives a picture of a bas-relief representing a king in his chariot, with an attendant holding a parasol over his head. Although sun shades were used by the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans, their umbrellas and parasols did not feature mechanical sliding levers that would make them collapsible. A 1st century collapsible umbrella has since been recovered from the tomb of Wang Guang at the Korean site of the Lelang Commandery, illustrated in a work by Harada and Komai. Predating this is the find of canopies for four-horse-drawn carriages in the 3rd century BCE tomb of Qin Shihuang (r. 221–210 BCE), located at the site of Xi'an with the Terracotta Army. However, the Chinese collapsible umbrella is perhaps a concept that is yet centuries older than Qin's tomb. Zhou Dynasty bronze castings of complex bronze socketed hinges with locking slides and bolts—which could have been used for parasols and umbrellas— were found in an archeological site of Luoyang, dated to the 6th century BCE.


umbrella in Bengali: ছাতা (ছত্র)
umbrella in Czech: Deštník
umbrella in Danish: Paraply
umbrella in German: Regenschirm
umbrella in Spanish: Paraguas
umbrella in Esperanto: Ombrelo
umbrella in French: Parapluie
umbrella in Korean: 우산
umbrella in Indonesian: Payung
umbrella in Icelandic: Regnhlíf
umbrella in Italian: Ombrello
umbrella in Hebrew: מטרייה
umbrella in Luxembourgish: Prabbeli (Schierm)
umbrella in Lithuanian: Skėtis
umbrella in Malayalam: കുട
umbrella in Dutch: Paraplu
umbrella in Dutch Low Saxon: Parreplu
umbrella in Japanese: 傘
umbrella in Norwegian: Paraply
umbrella in Norwegian Nynorsk: Paraply
umbrella in Polish: Parasol
umbrella in Portuguese: Guarda-chuva
umbrella in Russian: Зонт
umbrella in Sicilian: Paracqua
umbrella in Simple English: Umbrella
umbrella in Finnish: Sateenvarjo
umbrella in Swedish: Paraply
umbrella in Tamil: குடை
umbrella in Telugu: గొడుగు
umbrella in Thai: ร่ม
umbrella in Chinese: 傘

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aegis, agency, air cover, air raid, air support, arm guard, awning, backstop, beach umbrella, blind, bombing, brolly, buffer, bulwark, bumbershoot, bumper, chute, contraceptive, copyright, cover, coverage, crash helmet, curtain, cushion, dashboard, dodger, drape, drapery, drogue chute, dry run, face mask, fender, finger guard, foot guard, fuse, gamp, goggles, governor, guard, guardrail, hand guard, handrail, hard hat, harness, helmet, insulation, interlock, knee guard, knuckle guard, laminated glass, life preserver, lifeline, light shield, lightning conductor, lightning rod, mask, milk run, mission, mudguard, nose guard, pack, pad, padding, palladium, parachute, parachute jump, parasol, patent, patronage, pilot, preventive, prophylactic, protection, protective clothing, protective umbrella, reconnaissance, reconnaissance mission, safeguard, safety, safety glass, safety plug, safety rail, safety shoes, safety switch, safety valve, scramble, screen, seat belt, shade, shader, shadow, shield, shin guard, shroud lines, shuttle raid, sky dive, sortie, strafing, sun helmet, sunblind, sunshade, training mission, veil, vent, windscreen, windshield
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