Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


or mumm

[muhm] /mʌm/
verb (used without object), mummed, mumming.
to say “mum”; call for silence.
to act as a mummer.
Origin of mum2
1350-1400; Middle English mommen, v. use of mum1; compare Middle Dutch mommen to act the mummer's part Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for mumming
Historical Examples
  • This is the soul of mumming; the ostentatious secrecy of men in disguise.

    A Miscellany of Men G. K. Chesterton
  • Does it mean that he was mumming, as it were, like a conjurer?

    At The Sign Of The Eagle Gilbert Parker
  • "But I have very often," said I to her, as I went on the stage to finish my mumming.

    Records of Later Life Frances Ann Kemble
  • She had to go back to Huddy's, to the mumming booth and the innyard.

    Madame Flirt Charles E. Pearce
  • People work without aim or energy, and when they suffer it seems as if they were but mumming.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • At Christmastime in one of these winters a few of the boys of the night-school went round the village, mumming.

    Change in the Village (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt
  • The Fool (Motley: with a bauble long enough to put over his shoulder and be held by the one behind in the mumming circle).

    The Peace Egg and Other tales Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • Why, I didnt think this mumming was much to your taste, he said, and Eastwood drew him by the shirt sleeve.

    Back o' the Moon Oliver Onions
  • mumming pieces like this were popular all over Germany, the personages varying with the locality.

    St. Nicholas George H. McKnight
  • She had borrowed the suit under pretence she meant to play in some mumming or rural masquerade.

    The Monastery Sir Walter Scott
British Dictionary definitions for mumming


(mainly Brit) an informal word for mother1
Word Origin
C19: a child's word


keeping information to oneself; silent
mum's the word, silence or secrecy is to be observed
Word Origin
C14: suggestive of closed lips


verb mums, mumming, mummed
(intransitive) to act in a mummer's play
Word Origin
C16: verbal use of mum²


(Brit, obsolete) a type of beer made from cereals, beans, etc
Word Origin
C17: from German Mumme, perhaps from the name of its original brewer
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mumming



"be silent," 1560s, from Middle English mum, mom (late 14c.), inarticulate closed-mouth sound, indicative of unwillingness or inability to speak. As an adjective meaning "secret" from 1520s. Phrase mum's the word is first recorded 1704.



abbreviation of chrysanthemum, first attested 1915 in the jargon of gardeners.



pet word for "mother," 1823, short for mummy (see mamma). In British sociology, used from 1957 in reference to "the working class mother as an influence in the lives of her children." Also sometimes a vulgar corruption of madam.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for mumming

Word Value for mumming

Scrabble Words With Friends