mum

1
[ muhm ]
/ mʌm /

adjective

silent; not saying a word: to keep mum.

interjection

say nothing! be silent!

Nearby words

  1. multiwall,
  2. multiwindow,
  3. multnomah falls,
  4. multum in parvo,
  5. multure,
  6. mum's the word,
  7. mum-and-dad investor,
  8. mumbai,
  9. mumble,
  10. mumblety-peg

Idioms

    mum's the word, do not reveal what you know (about something); keep silent: Mum's the word, or the surprise party won't be a surprise.

Origin of mum

1
1350–1400; Middle English momme; imitative

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for mum's the word

mum

1
/ (mʌm) /

noun

mainly British an informal word for mother 1

Word Origin for mum

C19: a child's word

mum

2
/ (mʌm) /

adjective

keeping information to oneself; silent

noun

mum's the word silence or secrecy is to be observed

Word Origin for mum

C14: suggestive of closed lips

mum

3

mumm

/ (mʌm) /

verb mums, mumming or mummed

(intr) to act in a mummer's play

Word Origin for mum

C16: verbal use of mum ²

mum

4
/ (mʌm) /

noun

British obsolete a type of beer made from cereals, beans, etc

Word Origin for mum

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

Word Origin and History for mum's the word
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mum's the word

mum's the word

Say nothing about this, it's a secret, as in Mum's the word on tonight's surprise party. This expression dates from about 1700, but mum, meaning “silence,” is much older. In 2 Henry VI (1:2) Shakespeare wrote, “Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.