- 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 hums
The small Turkish city of Kilis, on the border with Syria, hums quietly with rebel activity from the neighboring civil war.Can the Syrian Rebels Unite?
November 30, 2012
He strokes the photocopier; he adores the machine, the way it flashes like lightning as it works, the way it whirs and hums.An Excerpt from Between the Assassinations
June 10, 2009
"I don't care what becomes of me," she hums over my shoulder.Torchy
Yes, and she hums snatches of songs under her breath as she works.The Mutiny of the Elsinore
The thought of you galloping to me goes through me like a flame that hums.Sandra Belloni, Complete
There's no doubt about that; and you're all a set of hums, together—you hen-men!The History of The Hen Fever
George P. Burnham
Further, if Marten hums and haws about the amount, ascertain what sum will satisfy him.The Terms of Surrender
- a variant of Homs
- (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 hums
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.