[ mur-mer-uhs ]
/ ˈmɜr mər əs /
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abounding in or characterized by murmurs.
murmuring; indistinctly low: murmurous waters.
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Origin of murmurous

First recorded in 1575–85; murmur + -ous


mur·mur·ous·ly, adverbun·mur·mur·ous, adjectiveun·mur·mur·ous·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does murmurous mean?

Murmurous is used to describe something or someone that’s murmuring—making 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.  

Murmurous can be used in all of these contexts. The adjective murmuring can be used to mean the same thing in most cases.

Example: The murmurous creek was as good as a lullaby, soothing me to sleep.

Where does murmurous come from?

The first records of the word murmurous come from the 1500s. Its base word, murmur, 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.

Describing something as murmurous typically means that it is making this kind of low, indistinct sound.

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What are some other forms of murmurous?

What are some synonyms for murmurous?

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

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


How is murmurous used in real life?

Murmurous is not as commonly used as the adjective murmuring.



Try using murmurous!

Which of the following words is a synonym of murmurous?

A. muttering
B. mumbling
C. grumbling
D. all of the above

How to use murmurous in a sentence