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murmur

[mur-mer]
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noun
  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.
  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.
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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.
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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.
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Origin of murmur

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English murmuren < Latin murmurāre; (noun) Middle English < Latin
Related formsmur·mur·er, nounmur·mur·less, adjectivemur·mur·less·ly, adverbun·mur·mured, adjectiveun·mur·mur·ing, adjectiveun·mur·mur·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for murmur on Thesaurus.com
1. grumble, susurration, mumble, complaint, mutter. 6. 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. 7. grouse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for murmuring

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Was it the murmuring of the dark stream as it washed upon the untrodden shore?

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • "John Barsad," repeated madame, after murmuring it once to herself.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Steenie went on for a while murmuring to himself at intervals.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • Something very faint and distant, not unlike the murmuring in a sea-shell.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • He was tossing feverishly from side to side, murmuring and muttering.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill


British Dictionary definitions for murmuring

murmur

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

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for murmuring

n.

late 14c., verbal noun from murmur (v.).

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murmur

n.

late 14c., "expression of discontent by grumbling," from Old French murmure "murmur, sound of human voices; trouble, argument" (12c.), noun of action from murmurer "to murmur," from Latin murmurare "to murmur, mutter," from murmur (n.) "a hum, muttering, rushing," probably from a PIE reduplicative base *mor-mor, of imitative origin (cf. Sanskrit murmurah "crackling fire," Greek mormyrein "to roar, boil," Lithuanian murmlenti "to murmur"). Meaning "softly spoken words" is from 1670s.

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murmur

v.

late 14c., from Old French murmurer "murmur, grouse, grumble" (12c.), from murmur "rumbling noise" (see murmur (n.)). Related: Murmured; murmuring.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

murmuring in Medicine

murmur

(mûrmər)
n.
  1. An abnormal sound heard on auscultation of the heart, lungs, or blood vessels.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.