[ mur-mer ]
/ ˈmɜr mər /
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See synonyms for: murmur / murmured / murmuring / murmurer on Thesaurus.com

Definition of murmur

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
to sound by murmurs.
to utter in a low tone: He murmured a threat as he left the room.
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Origin of murmur

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

synonym study for murmur

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.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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

How to use murmur in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for murmur

/ (ˈmɜːmə) /

a continuous low indistinct sound, as of distant voices
an indistinct utterancea murmur of satisfaction
a complaint; grumblehe made no murmur at my suggestion
med any abnormal soft blowing sound heard within the body, usually over the chestSee also heart murmur
verb -murs, -muring or -mured
to utter (something) in a murmur
(intr) to complain in a murmur

Derived forms of murmur

murmurer, nounmurmuring, noun, adjectivemurmuringly, adverbmurmurous, adjective

Word Origin for murmur

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