Don't Forget Your Bumbershoot

I turned to April 1st on our “Page-a-day Calendar” and saw the word bumbershoot. It is a whimsical word for umbrella.

I grew up hearing the British term “brolly”, but I have never heard an umbrella called a bumbershoot. What a great word! This made me curious to know more.

The origins are a bit foggy, some claiming it is a British word with others noting that it is definitely not British in origin.

The word bumbershoot first appeared in the U.S. around 1915-1920. It is thought to be an alteration of the “umber”- part of umbrella plus a respelling of -chute (as in parachute).

If you are familiar with the song “Step in Time” from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, you may remember Dick Van Dyke singing:

Me ol’ bam-boo, me ol’ bam-boo
You'd better never bother with me ol’ bam-boo
You can have me hat or me bumbershoot
But you'd better never bother with me ol’ bam-boo.

(Of course, as a child, I never really knew what he was saying).


Today, many people recognize Bumbershoot as an annual international music and arts festival in Seattle, Washington that takes place every Labor Day weekend. Some people who are familiar with its reference to an umbrella believe the festival was named Bumbershoot because of Seattle’s wet climate.

It is raining this morning in New York City so don’t forget to take your bumbershoot!

Learn something interesting today and make time for chocolate.