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2017 Word of the Year

hum

[huhm] /hʌm/
verb (used without object), hummed, humming.
1.
to make a low, continuous, droning sound.
2.
to give forth an indistinct sound of mingled voices or noises.
3.
to utter an indistinct sound in hesitation, embarrassment, dissatisfaction, etc.; hem.
4.
to sing with closed lips, without articulating words.
5.
to be in a state of busy activity:
The household hummed in preparation for the wedding.
6.
British Slang. to have a bad odor, as of stale perspiration.
verb (used with object), hummed, humming.
7.
to sound, sing, or utter by humming:
to hum a tune.
8.
to bring, put, etc., by humming:
to hum a child to sleep.
noun
9.
the act or sound of humming; an inarticulate or indistinct murmur; hem.
10.
Audio. an unwanted low-frequency sound caused by power-line frequencies in any audio component.
interjection
11.
(an inarticulate sound uttered in contemplation, hesitation, dissatisfaction, doubt, etc.)
Origin of hum
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English; ultimately imitative; cognate with German hummen to hum; cf. humblebee
Related forms
underhum, noun
Synonyms
5. bustle, buzz.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hums
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I don't care what becomes of me," she hums over my shoulder.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • Yes, and she hums snatches of songs under her breath as she works.

  • The thought of you galloping to me goes through me like a flame that hums.

    Sandra Belloni, Complete George Meredith
  • 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 Great Eastern hums with life through all its hundred rooms.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • He hums tunes and drums upon the window-panes, and seems as gay as a peacock.

    Avarice-Anger: Eugne Sue
  • That is what she hums to herself when she's at work, and won't tell me about when I ask.

    Mountain-Laurel and Maidenhair Louisa May Alcott
British Dictionary definitions for hums

Hums

/hʊms/
noun
1.
a variant of Homs

hum

/hʌm/
verb hums, humming, hummed
1.
(intransitive) to make a low continuous vibrating sound like that of a prolonged m
2.
(intransitive) (of a person) to sing with the lips closed
3.
(intransitive) to utter an indistinct sound, as in hesitation; hem
4.
(intransitive) (informal) to be in a state of feverish activity
5.
(intransitive) (Brit & Irish, slang) to smell unpleasant
6.
(intransitive) (Austral, slang) to scrounge
7.
hum and haw, See hem2 (sense 3)
noun
8.
a low continuous murmuring sound
9.
(electronics) an undesired low-frequency noise in the output of an amplifier or receiver, esp one caused by the power supply
10.
(Austral, slang) a scrounger; cadger
11.
(Brit & Irish, slang) an unpleasant odour
interjection, noun
12.
an indistinct sound of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
Derived Forms
hummer, noun
Word Origin
C14: of imitative origin; compare Dutch hommelen, Old High German humbal bumblebee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hums

hum

v.

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]

hum

n.

mid-15c., from hum (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hums in Medicine

hum (hŭm)
n.
A low, continuous murmur blended of many sounds.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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9
10
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