The Word ‘Umbrage’ Is Trending Online & The Internet is Having Fun With It


Have you taken umbrage before? If not, you should really try it.

Yesterday (6 May), Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced its plans to transfer its media business to a non-profit entity in a press conference.

Present at the press conference was SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung, whose feathers seemed to be ruffled by one reporter’s question.

When asked how SPH’s new media entity will preserve its editorial independence, Ng said: “Honestly, I take umbrage at your first question.”

He used the same term shortly after:

“For SPH, we have always had advertising and we have never, never conceded to the needs of advertisers… The fact that you dare to question (the editorial independence of) SPH titles… I take umbrage at that comment.”

Naturally, instead of talking about the decline of print media, netizens grew enamoured with the word “umbrage” and started using it sardonically online.


So, what exactly does the word “umbrage” mean?


Aiyah, just google, lah. You literally had to type seven letters and this would have popped up:

Reader: But I’m already on the Goody Feed app and my thumbs need a break.



The word itself means offence or annoyance, and when one “takes umbrage”, it means they resent something you said, as they perceived it to be a slight or insult.

In the context of yesterday’s conference, Mr Ng either took offence at or was annoyed by the reporter’s question on editorial independence, which is why he said he “took umbrage”.

The word umbrage is typically used with the verb “take”, much like the word offence – e.g. I take offence to the law – Sovereign, 2020″

You can also give umbrage, though that expression is hardly used nowadays.

Interestingly, the word umbrage was derived from an Old French word – ombrage – and the Latin word umbraticum, both of which mean shade. 

So, back in the 19th century, when overly-dressed individuals got into disputes and onlookers proclaimed that one had given umbrage to another, it basically meant that they were throwing shade at the person.

The Word ‘Umbrage’ Is Trending Online & The Internet is Having Fun With It

Since the term is rarely used these days, Mr Ng’s umbrage-taking yesterday made the word trend online.

Netizens have been using it in a mocking manner ever since on social media, and even Klook joined in on the fun.


“Took umbrage with something someone said at work? Un-rage and go Beast Mode here instead,” the booking platform wrote.

And netizens were certainly amused.

Image: Facebook (Klook)

So, the next time someone offends you, resist the urge to physically assault them or throw pieces of chicken at them, just say “I take umbrage at your comments”, and they’ll be so impressed with your vocabulary that they’ll forget why they were angry.

Featured Image: Youtube (Dy Suna)

Worker’s Party just agree with PAP on something, but there’s another reason why they did that. Watch this to the end and you’ll understand:

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