Adumbrate is a formal word for giving a general idea or description of something without any details.

ShadowIt has the following meanings:

  • to outline
  • to give a faint indication
  • to foreshadow
  • to overshadow or obscure

Adumbrate is a verb but there are other forms available to you: the noun is adumbration, the adjective is adumbrative and the adverb is adumbratively.

The OED lists the first recorded usage of adumbrate as occurring in 1537:

“You as fore runners, dydde adumbrate Christis passion.” Erasmus’ Comparation Vyrgin & Martyr, Thomas Paynell (translator).

I picked it as this week’s interesting word primarily because of its Latin origins. The Latin adumbrat- means ‘shaded’, and is from the verb adumbrare. Ad- means ‘to’ and umbrare means ‘cast a shadow’.


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