\ˈfyüm \

Definition of fume 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a smoke, vapor, or gas especially when irritating or offensive engine exhaust fumes

b : an often noxious suspension of particles in a gas (such as air)

2 : something (such as an emotion) that impairs one's reasoning sometimes his head gets a little hot with the fumes of patriotism— Matthew Arnold

3 : a state of excited irritation or anger usually used in the phrase in a fume

on fumes

: with little of the original strength or energy remaining tired ballplayers running on fumes


fumed; fuming

Definition of fume (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to expose to or treat with fumes

2 : to give off in fumes fuming thick black smoke

3 : to utter while in a state of excited irritation or anger

intransitive verb

1a : to emit fumes

b : to be in a state of excited irritation or anger fretted and fumed over the delay

2 : to rise in or as if in fumes

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Other Words from fume


fumy \ˈfyü-​mē \ adjective

Synonyms for fume

Synonyms: Verb

bristle, rage, storm

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Examples of fume in a Sentence


She's still fuming about not being invited to the party. We sat there waiting for him, fuming with anger at the delay. “They made these changes without even asking our opinion,” one employee fumed. The volcano was fuming thick black smoke.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Garcia writes in his report that the oil is thick enough that people need to wear respirators because of fumes. Jeff Amy, The Seattle Times, "Federal lawyers: Gulf oil leak spills much more than thought," 17 Sep. 2018 Prosecutors in Egypt on Saturday dismissed speculation that toxic gas fumes in the Coopers' hotel room killed the couple. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "British couple dies in Egypt hotel, daughter says 'something in that room' killed parents," 27 Aug. 2018 Litter boxes that aren’t cleaned regularly enough can contain buildups of urine and feces, resulting in dangerous ammonia fumes. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "How Cat Poop Can Affect Your Health," 9 Aug. 2018 Two men were arrested and 400 marijuana plants were seized following raids at homes in Oakland Park and in Fort Lauderdale where carbon monoxide fumes left three police officers feeling dizzy, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Two arrested, pot plants seized, officers recovering after two raids," 13 July 2018 Those hunters often use gasoline fumes to drive the snakes from their den, and once they’re caught, the reptiles become snacks or boots, or are stuffed in a striking position, fangs forever bared. Jason Nark, Philly.com, "Venomous passion: Pennsylvania's snake hunters head to the hills," 20 June 2018 Then Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, strewing mold-producing wreckage across the island and forcing many to use fume-spewing generators for power. NBC News, "Puerto Rico faces a spike in asthma cases following Hurricane Maria," 18 June 2018 In addition, the fumes are toxic and can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, confusion, breathing difficulties, and nose and throat irritation, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Kentucky State Police Say a Teen Got His Parents Busted for Allegedly Cooking Meth," 21 Sep. 2018 The trials, in which monkeys were exposed to diesel fumes to show there were no ill health effects on the animals, were led by the now-defunct research group EUGT. Oliver Sachgau, Bloomberg.com, "Volkswagen Reinstates Lobbyist After Monkey Test Investigation," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trump raged and fumed and demanded that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen shut down the border entirely. Dara Lind, Vox, "An April caravan inspired a lasting border crackdown — and its members faced harassment and violence when they tried to seek asylum in the US.," 18 Oct. 2018 Video footage taken from a nearby boat of tourists depicts a bloody scene of panic: screams for help and doctors, swells of fire and fumes rising into blue skies. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "Boat explosion in Bahamas leaves one American dead, nine injured," 2 July 2018 And now, according to TV3, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu (along with various other club officials) is fuming at Pique over his involvement. SI.com, "Barcelona Chiefs Fume at Gerard Pique's Role in Antoine Griezmann's Decision to Reject Camp Nou," 15 June 2018 Kim came away with an unexpected gift, after Trump shocked his allies in Seoul and his own military by calling a halt to joint US-South Korean military exercises about which Pyongyang has long fumed. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "What really came out of the Trump-Kim summit," 12 June 2018 Trump is embroiled in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and is fuming at federal agents digging into his personal affairs. Zeina Karam And Bassem Mroue, Fox News, "AP News Guide: Potential for escalation in Syria abounds," 11 Apr. 2018 Despite vehement denials from Colangelo, the team’s ownership was reportedly fuming over the incident and are embarrassed. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Philadelphia 76ers owners meet over executive's 'burnergate' controversy: report," 6 June 2018 By that time, Icahn and Deason were already fuming. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Paper Jam! How Carl Icahn And a Billionaire Partner Blocked Xerox’s Merger with Fujifilm," 21 May 2018 Many on the social media site fumed at Kanye for professing his love of Trump. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Twitter reacts to Kanye calling Trump 'my brother'," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fume


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fume


Middle English, from Anglo-French fum, from Latin fumus; akin to Old High German toumen to be fragrant, Sanskrit dhūma smoke, Old Church Slavonic dymŭ

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Statistics for fume

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fume

The first known use of fume was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fume



English Language Learners Definition of fume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: smoke or gas that smells unpleasant



English Language Learners Definition of fume (Entry 2 of 2)

: to show or feel anger

: to say (something) in an angry way

: to produce or give off (smoke, fumes, etc.)


\ˈfyüm \

Kids Definition of fume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a disagreeable smoke, vapor, or gas usually used in pl. noxious fumes


fumed; fuming

Kids Definition of fume (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give off a disagreeable smoke, vapor, or gas

2 : to be angry

3 : to say something in an angry way “Don't ever ask me again,” I fumed.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fume

Spanish Central: Translation of fume

Nglish: Translation of fume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fume for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fume

Comments on fume

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to enclose within walls

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