- to make a low, continuous, droning sound.
- to give forth an indistinct sound of mingled voices or noises.
- to utter an indistinct sound in hesitation, embarrassment, dissatisfaction, etc.; hem.
- to sing with closed lips, without articulating words.
- to be in a state of busy activity: The household hummed in preparation for the wedding.
- British Slang. to have a bad odor, as of stale perspiration.
- to sound, sing, or utter by humming: to hum a tune.
- to bring, put, etc., by humming: to hum a child to sleep.
- the act or sound of humming; an inarticulate or indistinct murmur; hem.
- Audio. an unwanted low-frequency sound caused by power-line frequencies in any audio component.
- (an inarticulate sound uttered in contemplation, hesitation, dissatisfaction, doubt, etc.)
Origin of hum
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hum
There was no shelling this time, but there was the hum of watchful drones.Gaza ‘Mass Execution’ Investigated
August 5, 2014
Achtung Baby's ironic astringency was a successful reaction to Rattle and Hum's gauzy sincerity.U2 Drops ‘Invisible’ to Remind You the Band Exists
February 9, 2014
Just smile, hum a tune, count backwards from a thousand repeatedly.Can Being With Your Family on Thanksgiving Actually Kill You?
November 29, 2013
DE, from the French, means "of" as in "from;" DO, like the deer, is the first tone you hum.National Scrabble Day: A Poem So You’ll Know All 101 Two-Letter Words
April 13, 2013
From the site, one can hear the hum of traffic and see cars passing on the street.Mary Kennedy: Bringing Up the Body
July 26, 2012
"Hum," remarked Uncle Peter, in a tone to be noticed for its extreme dryness.
He heard the hum and clang of an electric car off through a chestnut grove.
I don't quite think myself a lady-killer: by George, my—hum!Weighed and Wanting
The Sunday landscape was very still, save for the hum of busy insect life.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
The bystanders did, and a hum of curiosity circled round; who could they be?Night and Morning, Complete
- (intr) to make a low continuous vibrating sound like that of a prolonged m
- (intr) (of a person) to sing with the lips closed
- (intr) to utter an indistinct sound, as in hesitation; hem
- (intr) informal to be in a state of feverish activity
- (intr) British and Irish slang to smell unpleasant
- (intr) Australian slang to scrounge
- hum and haw See hem 2 (def. 3)
- a low continuous murmuring sound
- electronics an undesired low-frequency noise in the output of an amplifier or receiver, esp one caused by the power supply
- Australian slang a scrounger; cadger
- British and Irish slang an unpleasant odour
- an indistinct sound of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
Word Origin and History for hum
late 14c., hommen "make a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment," later hummen "to buzz, drone" (early 15c.), probably of imitative origin. Sense of "sing with closed lips" is first attested late 15c.; that of "be busy and active" is 1884, perhaps on analogy of a beehive. Related: Hummed; humming. Humming-bird (1630s) so called from sound made by the rapid vibration of its wings.
There is a curious bird to see to, called a humming bird, no bigger then a great Beetle. [Thomas Morton, "New English Canaan," 1637]
mid-15c., from hum (v.).
- A low, continuous murmur blended of many sounds.