lacking variety; boring; dull: a humdrum existence.


humdrum character or routine; monotony.
monotonous or tedious talk.
Archaic. a dull, boring person.

Origin of humdrum

1545–55; earlier humtrum, rhyming compound based on hum
Related formshum·drum·ness, noun

Synonyms for humdrum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hum-drum

Historical Examples of hum-drum

  • Why didn't you say, 'You make life too hum-drum, too commonplace for him.

    A Widow's Tale and Other Stories

    Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

  • The town so hum-drum to-day has a stirring history to look back on.

    Heroic Spain

    Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly

  • I had no society there, and of course, got tired of my hum-drum life.


    J. G. Holland

  • My weariness of this hum-drum, work-a-day life has grown so heavy it is like to crush me.

  • Hum-Drum and Kopy-Keck applied themselves to their physics and metaphysics; but in vain.

British Dictionary definitions for hum-drum



ordinary; dull


a monotonous routine, task, or person
Derived Formshumdrumness, noun

Word Origin for humdrum

C16: rhyming compound, probably based on hum
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 hum-drum

also humdrum, "routine, monotonous," 1550s, probably a reduplication of hum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper