verb (used without object)
  1. to clear the throat audibly in a self-important manner: The professor harrumphed good-naturedly.
  2. to express oneself gruffly.

Origin of harrumph

First recorded in 1935–40; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for harrumphed

Contemporary Examples of harrumphed

Historical Examples of harrumphed

  • She harrumphed a bit, as suspicious as she usually is, and I went to the stove for more coffee.

    Cue for Quiet

    Thomas L. Sherred

  • The Phoenix harrumphed several times in its throat and shuffled its feet.

    David and the Phoenix

    Edward Ormondroyd

British Dictionary definitions for harrumphed


  1. (intr) to clear or make the noise of clearing the throat
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

Word Origin and History for harrumphed


representing the sound of clearing the throat or a disapproving noise, 1918, imitative. Related: Harrumphed; harrumphing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper