View synonyms for murmur


[ mur-mer ]


  1. a low, continuous sound, as of a brook, the wind, or trees, or of low, indistinct voices.

    Synonyms: mumble, susurration, grumble, mutter, complaint

  2. a mumbled or private expression of discontent.
  3. Also called heart murmur. Medicine/Medical.
    1. an abnormal sound heard on listening to the heart, usually through a stethoscope, produced by the blood passing through deformed cardiac valves.
    2. in some persons a similar sound heard when blood passes through normal valves.
  4. Phonetics. a voice quality in which vibration of the vocal cords is accompanied by the escape of a great deal of air, as in the (h) of ahead; breathy voice.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a low or indistinct sound, especially continuously.
  2. to speak in a low tone or indistinctly.
  3. to complain in a low tone or in private.

    Synonyms: grouse

verb (used with object)

  1. to sound by murmurs.
  2. to utter in a low tone:

    He murmured a threat as he left the room.


/ ˈmɜːmə /


  1. a continuous low indistinct sound, as of distant voices
  2. an indistinct utterance

    a murmur of satisfaction

  3. a complaint; grumble

    he made no murmur at my suggestion

  4. med any abnormal soft blowing sound heard within the body, usually over the chest See also heart murmur


  1. to utter (something) in a murmur
  2. intr to complain in a murmur

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Derived Forms

  • ˈmurmuring, nounadjective
  • ˈmurmurer, noun
  • ˈmurmurous, adjective
  • ˈmurmuringly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • murmur·er noun
  • murmur·less adjective
  • murmur·less·ly adverb
  • un·murmured adjective
  • un·murmur·ing adjective
  • un·murmur·ing·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of murmur1

First recorded in 1275–1325; verb murmur from Middle English murmuren, from Latin murmurāre “to mutter, make a gentle sound, roar, grumble,” a Latin development of mormor-, murmur-, a Proto-Indo-European onomatopoeic root that appears in Greek mormýrein “(of water) to boil noisily,” Sanskirt marmara- “rustling, rushing,” Lithuanian murmėti “to babble, mutter,” and German murmeln “to mumble, murmur”; noun murmur also from Middle English, from Latin

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Word History and Origins

Origin of murmur1

C14: as n, from Latin murmur; vb via Old French murmurer from Latin murmurāre to rumble

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Synonym Study

Murmur, mumble, mutter mean to make sounds that are not fully intelligible. To murmur is to utter sounds or words in a low, almost inaudible tone, as in expressing affection or dissatisfaction: to murmur disagreement. To mumble is to utter imperfect or inarticulate sounds with the mouth partly closed, so that the words can be distinguished only with difficulty: to mumble the answer to a question. To mutter is to utter words in a low, grumbling way, often voicing complaint or discontent, not meant to be fully audible: to mutter complaints.

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Example Sentences

However, there’s some surprisingly good ANC out there that does a fine job of filtering everyday noise like the murmurs of a cafe, kids, and pets shuffling around the house, or traffic sounds outside the walls of an apartment.

Used this way, the fabric microphone might listen for murmurs.

This gun operates at a whisper-soft murmur, so you never have to worry about disturbing those around you, especially if you share a small space.

The game was a pitchers’ duel until, just like that, Pablo Sandoval swung the Atlanta Braves in front and turned Nationals Park into a gallery of light murmurs.

It was the low-level murmur of two people who had forgotten to go on mute, followed by giggling.

Selling off the extras, I saw my neighbor marvel at the scent and murmur that he wished he could afford one.

Then in a kind and soothing murmur he ran over the important points with Vance, who stood like one stunned.

The crowd on the floor responded with a half-hearted murmur of assent.

The mix of cooking segments, pop concerts, and celebrity interviews is met with an unappreciative murmur.

They occurred without a murmur of protest from the United States.

Bernard folded his hands together—almost devoutly—and stood gazing at her with a long, inarticulate murmur of satisfaction.

Her glance wandered from his face away toward the Gulf, whose sonorous murmur reached her like a loving but imperative entreaty.

The leaves were motionless, the river crept past without a murmur, the dark hills rose out of the distant desert like a wave.

At the store he would never have given in, but he was not accustomed to hearing so loud a murmur of approval greet the opposition.

“Akhab Khan prevented those Shia dogs from shooting you and Mayne-sahib,” went on the low murmur.


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More About Murmur

What does murmur mean?

To murmur is to make a continuous, low, and indistinct sound. Such a sound can be called a murmur. Examples include the sound of water in a stream, the wind through the trees, and the low, muffled sound of a TV in another room.

This is the way the word is used in the phrase the murmur of the crowd, which refers to the collective sound of a lot of people talking at once. In contrast, the roar of the crowd refers to collective cheering and is much louder.

Murmur also means to say something in a low tone that can’t be easily understood. Similar words are mutter and mumble. Murmuring in this way is often done to express discontent with whatever one is talking about.

The thing that’s said can be called a murmur. This sense of murmur can also be used in a more figurative way to refer to a private expression of discontent, as in There were murmurs about a strike.  

In the context of medicine, murmur is a short form of the term heart murmur, referring to an abnormal sound heard when listening to a heartbeat with a stethoscope (such a sound may indicate the presence of deformation in the heart valves).

Example: The endless murmur of the creek was as good as a lullaby, soothing me to sleep.

Where does murmur come from?

The first records of the word murmur come from around the 1300s. It comes from the Latin word murmurāre, meaning “to mutter,” “to make a gentle sound,” “to roar,” or “to grumble.” Murmur is thought to be based on onomatopoeia, which is the formation of a word by imitation of a sound.

In other words, murmur sounds like the thing it describes. When the people in a crowd all talk at the same time, you don’t hear the individual voices or conversations. Instead, you can only hear the murmur—the indistinct, collective chatter of all those voices combined. If you tried to imitate that sound, it may sound a bit like murmurmurmurmurmur.

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What are some other forms of murmur?

  • murmuring (continuous tense verb, noun)
  • murmurer (noun)
  • murmurous (adjective)

What are some synonyms for murmur?

What are some words that share a root or word element with murmur

What are some words that often get used in discussing murmur?


How is murmur used in real life?

Murmur is commonly used as a both a verb and a noun. Most of its senses involve a low, indistinct sound.



Try using murmur!

Which of the following words is a synonym of murmur?

A. mutter
B. mumble
C. grumble
D. all of the above