\ 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

boil, burn, foam, rage, rankle, seethe, sizzle, steam, 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

Not just because of the lava, but also the deadly fumes. Carter Evans, CBS News, "Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: Lava flows, toxic gas show no signs of slowing down," 5 May 2018 During the trip, other passengers reported having trouble breathing, coughing and experiencing headaches due to the chemical fumes. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "They booked a two-week Norwegian cruise. Instead, they got a 'nightmare at sea.' | Miami Herald," 17 Apr. 2018 No one was hurt, and the projector kept rolling, after emergency exits were opened to air out the fumes. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Sick of Hollywood Action Movies? Warhol’s Epic Is an 8-Hour Shot of the Empire State Building," 10 Jan. 2019 In addition, the fumes are dangerous for others in the area. Alexis Stevens, The Seattle Times, "Georgia tallies meth’s toll: Nearly 20 percent of those killed by police in state test positive for it," 20 Nov. 2018 The ash is a new irritant for a town that's used to coping with volcanic smog from noxious fumes seeping from the summit and eruption vents. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, chicagotribune.com, "Final exams moved to gym as ash fills Hawaii classroom," 25 May 2018 After workers choked and fainted, reportedly from fumes at the plant, a court closed the factory in 1998 and cited it for failing to comply with regulations against contaminating groundwater. Parth M.n., latimes.com, "Indian court stops construction at copper plant after 11 killed in protests," 23 May 2018 And, whenever possible, use nontoxic cleaning supplies, which don’t give off noxious fumes. Jennifer Fernandez, House Beautiful, "6 Nursery-Decorating Mistakes To Avoid For Your Baby’s Health," 19 Dec. 2018 High-velocity jets of steam, along with sulfurous volcanic fumes and small gritty rock debris, began to blow out from the pit in May of that year. Wendell Duffield, Scientific American, "Kilauea’s Next Eruptions May Mirror a Big One in Its Past," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Back in Washington, during the waning days of the Clinton administration, national security adviser Sandy Berger fumed over the incident. Warren Bass, WSJ, "The Bin Laden Attack That Two Presidents Failed to Answer," 10 Jan. 2019 Trump has long fumed about Sessions’ decision last year to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe due to his involvement in the Trump campaign. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Trump claims Sessions 'doesn't understand what is happening' in Justice Dept.," 25 Aug. 2018 While her cohosts cheered women’s across-the-board victories in recent primaries, McCain fumed. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Meghan McCain Isn’t Afraid of a Fight," 2 Aug. 2018 For more than three years, Trump has fumed publicly and privately about the giant commerce and services company and its founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms," 18 May 2018 For more than three years, Trump has fumed publicly and privately about the giant commerce and services company and its founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post. Damian Paletta, Philly.com, "Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms," 18 May 2018 The president, on the heels of the conviction of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, continued to fume over Sessions' recusal from the Russia investigation. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump Organization may face charges over Cohen hush money; Trump vs. Sessions escalates," 24 Aug. 2018 And many fans who have tuned into the weekend sporting event for years were fuming about Underwood’s new tune. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood Debuted a New ‘Sunday Night Football’ Song and NFL Fans Are Not Happy," 10 Sep. 2018 As Kudlow’s party convened, former speechwriter Darren Beattie was still fuming over his exit from the West Wing, according to a person close to him. Robert Costa, The Seattle Times, "Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists at his home," 21 Aug. 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, "smoke, exhalation," borrowed from Anglo-French fum, going back to Latin fūmus "smoke, fumes," going back to Indo-European *dhuh2-mó- "smoke, vapor" (whence also Old Church Slavic dymŭ "smoke," Lithuanian dū́mai, Sanskrit dhūmáḥ and probably Greek thȳmós "spirit, mind, courage"), noun derivative from a verbal base *dhu̯eh2- or *dheu̯h2- "produce smoke by burning," whence Greek thýō, thýein "to sacrifice," Latin suffiō, suffīre "to subject to smoke, fumigate," Old Church Slavic dujǫ, duti "to blow" and perhaps Tocharian B twās- "kindle, ignite"

Note: Also allied are Hittite tuhhae-, perhaps "to smoke out, drive out by smoke," from an unattested noun derivative (earlier glossed as "gasp, cough"; see A. Kloeckhorst, Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon, Brill, 2008); and Old High German toum "vapor, smoke," Middle Dutch doom "vapor, steam," going back to Germanic *dauma-, presumably from an o-grade derivative *dhou̯h2-mo-. Greek thȳmós is an exact phonetic correspondent to the other words, though the sense divergence suggests influence from some phonetically similar base of different meaning.

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Statistics for fume

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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

What made you want to look up fume? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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