HEED THE VOX POPULI, AND TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!
Idioms for mum
Origin of mum1
Words nearby mum
Definition for mum (2 of 6)
verb (used without object), mummed, mum·ming.
Origin of mum2
Definition for mum (3 of 6)
Origin of mum3
Definition for mum (4 of 6)
noun Chiefly British.
Origin of mum4
Definition for mum (5 of 6)
Origin of mum5
Definition for mum (6 of 6)
noun Chiefly British.
Origin of mum6
What does mum mean?
Mum is an adjective that means keeping quiet. It can also be used by itself to mean Be quiet!
This sense of mum is especially used in the expressions keep mum and mum’s the word.
In the U.K. and other places, mum is used as a word for mom or madam. It’s also commonly used as a short way of saying chrysanthemum, a type of flower.
Example: Mum’s keeping mum—I can’t get a word out of her!
Where does mum come from?
Mum in the sense of “silent” comes from the Middle English word momme, which is probably imitative of the sound that a closed mouth makes. Go ahead—try it. It sounds like mumbling, right? Well, the word mumble is based on the same word.
Most likely, your mum has told you not to mumble. And she’s probably also told you on many occasions to keep quiet, or keep mum. The idea behind the instruction—and the origin of the word—is that the mouth should be closed. Somewhat relatedly, the word for mother in many languages around the world begins with the m sound, which is also made with the mouth closed (and is one of the first sounds babies learn how to make).
When used to mean “madam,” mum is a variation of ma’am, which is a shortening of madam.
Mum can also be used as a verb meaning to “act as a mummer,” a kind of costumed performer.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to mum?
- mums (plural noun, as in the flowers)
- mummy (equivalent to mommy)
What are some synonyms for mum?
What are some words that share a root or word element with mum?
What are some words that often get used in discussing mum?
How is mum used in real life?
Mum is often used in a critical way to suggest a suspicious silence. It frequently gets used in political contexts.
i tried to keep mum on the lakers so the rest of laker twitter didnt eat me alive. but I can no longer stay silent. the lakers are in trouble .. they’ve been in trouble & vogel is in denial 😩 yeeesh. goodnight
— BrittanyBets (@brittany_bets) February 9, 2020
Cool. Mum’s the word. On a related note, when would you like to go thru social media onboarding training, where we learn that @‘ing said studio does in fact counteract the desire of NOT telling them?
I have time before and after lunch on Thursday. Let me know. 🤷♂️ https://t.co/bilYoCYBND
— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) July 23, 2018
Try not to revise too much over the weekend. Quality not quantity. Have an early night. See your friends. Call your mum. Go outside. Eat real food.
— Uni of Liverpool Library (@LivUniLibrary) May 17, 2019
Try using mum!
Which of the following words is an antonym (opposite) of mum?
Example sentences from the Web for mum
I think maybe it was the justification he used for that and how he treated my mum for having what he thought was an affair.
“Mum was living in fear as well we were trapped,” Cumming tells me.
The family was "happy, but my parents were broke, my mum made my clothes, my dad said we moved when the rent was due," he told me.
He even took a few wobbly first steps (with a little assistance from his mum, of course).Prince George Gurgles His Way Through First Public Engagement|Tom Sykes|April 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Suddenly she is cast adrift without the bank of mum and dad.
But wait a bit, mum, if you wouldn't mind that, I've got a sister who's got a very nice room.A Bed of Roses|W. L. George
(suddenly recovering and sitting up) It's a complicated case, mum.Oh! Susannah!|Mark Ambient
But I'm blessed if that whole gang didn't go as mum as a lot of railroad hands after a smash-up.Shorty McCabe|Sewell Ford
Not if youll kindly indulge me, mum—I must be where I can watch the bell.The Two Magics|Henry James
"I'm going, mum," said she, as one resolved to face calmly whatever might befall.Faith Gartney's Girlhood|Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney