What do Americans call umbrellas?


What do Americans call umbrellas?


Umbrellas are essential accessories that protect individuals from rain, snow, or the scorching sun. While they serve the same purpose across various cultures, different regions have developed their own unique terms for the humble umbrella. In this article, we will delve into the different names Americans use to refer to umbrellas, exploring their cultural significance and regional variations.

1. The Classic Umbrella:

The term "umbrella" itself is widely used across the United States. This word is derived from the Latin "umbra," meaning shade or shadow, and has become the standard reference for portable canopies used to shield against the elements. The classic umbrella is a familiar sight, featuring a collapsible metal frame topped with a waterproof fabric to keep the rain away.

2. The Rainshade:

In some regions, particularly in the southern part of the United States, umbrellas are commonly referred to as "rainshades." This term is indicative of the dual purpose of these accessories - protection against both rain and the sun's rays. Southern states, with their typically hot and humid climate, recognize the importance of shielding oneself from the sun while seeking refuge from rain showers.

3. The Bumbershoot:

On the other hand, in certain parts of the country, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and New England, "bumbershoot" is a popular term for umbrellas. This quirky and whimsical word is fun to say and often used informally. Its origin is unclear, but there are speculations that it may have derived from a blend of various dialects, or even from a whimsical invention of someone's imagination. Nevertheless, "bumbershoot" adds a touch of playfulness to the umbrella's practicality.

4. The Parasol:

While umbrellas are primarily recognized for their role in protecting against rain, the term "parasol" is occasionally used in the United States to refer to umbrellas designed specifically for sun protection. "Parasol" originated from the French words "para" (to shield) and "soleil" (sun), and it commonly refers to an umbrella typically used by women during sunny weather to shade themselves from harmful UV rays. This term emphasizes the fashionable and decorative aspect of such umbrellas, rather than focusing solely on their functionality.

5. The Brolly:

Influenced by British English, particularly in urban areas and among younger generations, the term "brolly" has gained popularity in the United States as well. This slang word, derived from the combination of "brother" and "umbrella," gives umbrellas a casual, friendly connotation. "Brolly" is often used in a lighthearted manner and has a sense of camaraderie or shared protection against the elements.


Across the United States, a variety of terms are used to describe the beloved accessory we know as an umbrella. Whether it's referred to as an umbrella, rainshade, bumbershoot, parasol, or brolly, the purpose remains the same: to shield individuals from rain, sun, or adverse weather conditions. These regional variations reflect the diverse cultural and linguistic nuances within the United States. So, the next time you encounter a sudden downpour or scorching rays, you won't be puzzled if an American refers to their trusty umbrella by a different name!


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