To adumbrate something is to outline it. In an English essay, you could adumbrate the themes in a novel; or, in a letter to Santa, you could adumbrate all the ways you have been behaving.

Adumbrate is built on the Latin root umbra, "shade," and the image it evokes is of a shadow being cast around something. Your outline is like a shadow of something bigger — like the themes in that novel or the ways you have been behaving. You can also use adumbrate to mean "foreshadow": "The scene where the princess dreams of the vampire adumbrates her later discovery that her little brother is, in fact, a vampire."

Definitions of adumbrate

v describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of

outline, sketch
block out
indicate roughly
Type of:
depict, describe, draw
give a description of

v give to understand

insinuate, intimate
Type of:
hint, suggest
drop a hint; intimate by a hint

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.