Idioms about mum
Origin of mum1
Words nearby mum
Other definitions for mum (2 of 6)
Origin of mum2
Other definitions for mum (3 of 6)
Origin of mum3
Other definitions for mum (4 of 6)
Origin of mum4
Other definitions for mum (5 of 6)
Origin of mum5
Other definitions for mum (6 of 6)
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?
How to use mum in a sentence
I don’t know whether my mum pouted, but definitely channeled her with great pride and honor.
Ervin and other providers say they watched with confusion in recent weeks as states such as New Jersey and Ohio gave top vaccination priority to group home residents, while Maryland health officials stayed mum on the issue.Maryland places disabled adults in group homes high on vaccine priority list|Rebecca Tan|January 6, 2021|Washington Post
The surface of Majella’s experience may be an endless cycle of repeated actions — bring mum tea, re-watch “Dallas,” clean the kitchen — but there are subterranean shifts taking place.
The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.After growing up poor, a Premier League star corners U.K. into feeding its hungry|Amos Barshad|November 30, 2020|Washington Post
He was American but told them he was from Canada, and he would call his mother “mum” over the phone.
This might be why Cosby is keeping mum on the accusations, despite the obvious public relations disaster.No Wonder Cosby's Keeping Quiet: He Could Still Be Prosecuted|Jay Michaelson|November 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
If there was another goal, the Obama administration is keeping mum about it.To Free American Prisoners, America’s Top Spy Goes to North Korea|Shane Harris|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The presidential hopefuls fire up the faithful with promises to extend the Republican revolution to 2016, as Jeb Bush stays 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.
People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don't make no difference.Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Complete|Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Mrs. Maynard, with a sparkling glance about her that says "Mum," has slipped off her wedding-ring, and Belle has taken her hand.Mushroom Town|Oliver Onions
Oh, Mum, I was going to get you a sweet little bracelet of old Irish paste—you know—a thing in four little chains.
And I have something to tell him, Mum—he'll—he'll be having a little sister in the spring.
Their tongues and loud Rad ram's-horns do their level best to win it, Mum.