One of the meanings of umbrella is a term for other things.

So, is it possible (yet) to use umbrella as a verb? To umbrella something? Perhaps an umbrella'd issue? I saw someone used "umbrellered" and aside from disagreeing with the spelling, I was curious about the acceptance of a verb form.

  • ODO gives an adjectival participle umbrellaed
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 24 '14 at 15:03
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    possible duplicate of Which nouns can be used as verbs?. The answer, as succinctly expressed in the first comment there, being All nouns can be used as verbs. Not all nouns are used as verbs. Feb 24 '14 at 15:11
  • @Oliver555: One might be able to guess from context, but I must say I personally haven't the faintest idea what an "umbrella'd" issue might be. One which has been shielded from the glaring light of publicity? One which enjoys "special protection" from criticism/budget cuts? One which has been opened out/extended to cover more sub-issues than it originally did? One which has been subsumed into/under another issue? Feb 24 '14 at 15:18
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    @FumbleFingers I took the first line of the question as setting the context. He's speaking specifically of the meaning where one thing encompasses a group of other things. He didn't express it well, though.
    – Barmar
    Feb 24 '14 at 22:42
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    @Barmar: You're not kidding! I just ignored "umbrella is a term for other things" as gibberish, but in retrospect it was just badly expressed. Feb 24 '14 at 22:45

Getting 'umbrella'd' on the London Underground or London Transport generally is an occupational hazard for millions of commuters; perhaps an alternative meaning for the verb to the one you intended, but one that I think is legitimate.

With millions of people carrying umbrellas in the rush hour during inclement weather, it can often seem dangerous navigating the London Undergrpound and Overground transport systems. Most umbrellas have a metal spike at the end, and not everyone takes care not to flail their spikes where they can do anatomical damage. Especially this is the case with swaggering bankers and stockbrokers who have had a more than profitable day as they swing their brollies, in joyful abandon as they board the evening train. But I only know of one instance where someone was 'umbrella'd' to death.

In September 1978, in an old style Cold War assassination a Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was injected with a poisoned needle (containing ricin) attached to the end of an umbrella, whilst he waited for a bus at London Bridge. Suspicion has always been on the Bulgarian Secret Police, but no one was ever charged. After a 35-year 'Statute of Limitations'passed in September 2013, the current Bulgarian government prosecutor has closed their files on the case. But Scotland Yard's files, as always, remain open! It seems certain that Markov was 'umbrella'd' deliberately with a poisoned needle.

An alternative spelling to the past tense of the verb 'to umbrella' could be 'umbrellered'

See below report:


  • This is analogous to the verbing of elbow, which is common on crowded public transport regardless of the whether.
    – Barmar
    Feb 24 '14 at 20:21

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