- making a droning sound; buzzing.
- very busy; briskly active: a humming office.
Origin of humming
- 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 humming
It starts off like any other Lana tune, replete with minor chords and humming, distorted vocals.The 14 Best Songs of 2014: Bobby Shmurda, Future Islands, Drake, and More
December 31, 2014
I hear him humming—a long, flat note, more electric than musical.Pete Dexter’s Indelible Portrait of Author Norman Maclean
March 23, 2014
“Keep me coming, keep me going, keep me humming, keep me moaning,” she pleads in the chorus.‘Beyoncé’ Review: Genius…and Dripping of Sex
December 13, 2013
Grant thought the humming was simply designed to help Luther get the right feel on the song.Excerpts From a New Johnny Cash Biography Capture His Iconoclastic Genius
October 26, 2013
As we marched out into the night, a French journalist started bouncing on his heels, humming the Halo theme song.War Games: Microsoft Invades Liechtenstein for Halo 4 Blowout
November 8, 2012
She went about her work that morning humming under her breath.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
He lighted the lantern, and Hal Dozier went down the steep steps, humming.Way of the Lawless
She knew the humming and hawing gentleman—had heard him often before.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
They are all gone now, but then they were humming and teeming with work.The Harbor
The air was full of laughter, talk, whistling and humming of the airs from the opera.The First Violin
- (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 humming
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.