[ mur-mer ]
See synonyms for: murmurmurmuredmurmuringmurmurer on

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

  2. a mumbled or private expression of discontent.

  1. Also called heart murmur. Medicine/Medical.

    • an abnormal sound heard on listening to the heart, usually through a stethoscope, produced by the blood passing through deformed cardiac valves.

    • in some persons a similar sound heard when blood passes through normal valves.

  2. 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.

  1. to complain in a low tone or in private.

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.

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.

Other words for murmur

Other words from murmur

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

How to use murmur in a sentence

  • Later she murmured approval as Tori Spelling showed off hostessing tips.

  • "On a warm summer's day it's delightfully cool down here," Mr. Meadow Mouse murmured.

    The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
  • Mrs. Kaye, without turning her head, murmured something indistinctly, and lit another cigarette.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • “It is a perfect identification,” murmured Mr. Arden, with his eyes still riveted on the plaster faces.

    Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • "A woman's particular reason is a man's feeble excuse," murmured Sir Lucien rudely.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • I believe I murmured something suitable, but it was absurd to pretend to be overjoyed at the news.

    Uncanny Tales | Various

British Dictionary definitions for murmur


/ (ˈmɜːmə) /

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

  2. an indistinct utterance: a murmur of satisfaction

  1. a complaint; grumble: he made no murmur at my suggestion

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

verb-murs, -muring or -mured
  1. to utter (something) in a murmur

  2. (intr) to complain in a murmur

Origin of murmur

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

Derived forms of murmur

  • murmurer, noun
  • murmuring, noun, adjective
  • murmuringly, adverb
  • murmurous, adjective

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