The word "umbrella" evolved from the Latin "umbella" (an "umbel" is a flat-topped rounded flower) or "umbra," meaning "shaded." umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain. Often the difference is the material; Umbrellas are almost exclusively hand-held portable devices; however, parasols can also be hand-held.

        The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow (the Latin word, in turn, derives from the Ancient Greek √≥mbros.


"Parasol" from "para" meaning to stop or to shield and "sol" meaning sun. The term parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun . 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. An umbrella or parasol is also refered as brolly, rain shade, sunshade, gamp or bumbershoot generally meaning a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight.; Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, used often in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Kenya. Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism from the late 19th century.

  In Britain, umbrellas are sometimes called "gamps" after the character Mrs. Gamp in the Charles Dickens novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Mrs. Gamp's character was well known for carrying an umbrella.


The Sanskrit epic Mahabharata (about 4th century) relates the following legend: Jamadagni was a skilled bow shooter, and his devoted wife Renuka would always recover each of his arrows immediately.

One time however, it took her a whole day to fetch the arrow, and she later blamed the heat of the sun for the delay. The angry Jamadagni shot an arrow at the sun. The sun begged for mercy and offered Renuka an umbrella.


Jean Baptiste Tavernier, in his 17th century book "Voyage to the East," says that on each side of the Mogul's throne were two umbrellas, and also describes the hall of the King of Ava as decorated with an umbrella.