The word Adobe has come to us over some 4000 years with little change in either pronunciation or meaning: the word can be traced from the Middle Egyptian (c. 2000 BC) word dj-b-t "mud [i.e., sun-dried] brick."

An adobe is a natural building material mixed from sand, clay, and straw, dung or other fibrous materials, which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. Adobe structures are extremely durable and account for the oldest extant buildings on the planet. Adobe buildings also offer significant advantages in hot, dry climates, as they remain cooler since adobe stores and releases heat very slowly.

Buildings made of sun-dried earth are common in the Middle East, North Africa, south America and in Spain (usually in the Mudéjar style), but adobe had been in use by indigenous peoples of the Americas in the Southwestern United States, Mesoamerica, and the Andean region of South America for several thousand years.