\ ˈfyüm How to pronounce fume (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fumy (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for fume

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of fume in a Sentence

Verb 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 Tensions can run high amid the car exhaust fumes and honking horns. Anchorage Daily News, "How fentanyl flowed through the U.S. Postal Service and across the southern border," 25 Aug. 2019 His wife, Dolores, has health troubles and cannot be outside in the dust and fumes, Roseberry said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "East Hartford neighbors, fed up with noise, dirt clouds, call on town officials to take action against backyard dirt track," 5 Sep. 2019 Kilian says Hughes left the new furnace’s oil supply line exposed above the cement and leaking, so headache-inducing fumes filled the house. Jon Gorey, BostonGlobe.com, "Hair-raising contractor horror stories — and how to avoid them," 5 Sep. 2019 Navy strike group pilots also reported seeing strange objects flying above 30,000 feet at hypersonic speeds with no visible engine or infrared exhaust fumes, according to the New York Times. Fox News, "Bernie Sanders pledges to reveal info on aliens if he wins in 2020," 8 Aug. 2019 Others worry about exhaust fumes from cars passing just a few feet away and heat from the sun. Kaitlyn Bartley, The Mercury News, "Los Gatos: Early North Santa Cruz Avenue road diet reviews spark yeas and no ways," 19 July 2019 More: As many as 4,000 Michigan sites could be hiding toxic fumesHer husband, Jon Rende, 53, then made a shocking discovery. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Troy homeowners’ horror: 'Dad, something really stinks in the basement'," 12 July 2019 At the moment, with a one- or two-seat majority, the government is running on fumes. The Economist, "Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?," 1 Aug. 2019 The legislation’s passage culminated a lengthy fight to preserve the fund and its teetering finances, as more of the emergency personnel, volunteers, and survivors who inhaled toxic fumes, dust, and smoke at ground zero become gravely ill. Emily Cochrane, BostonGlobe.com, "9/11 first responders fund clears Senate and heads to Trump," 23 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And when the state slapped us in the face last year by striking a rotten deal to allow strictly limited access, including by kayak, the public fumed. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Gov. Newsom, you can be a coastal access hero. Meet me in Gaviota, and we’ll kayak to Hollister Ranch," 11 Sep. 2019 When Trump fumed that the size of his inaugural crowd was reported to be smaller than his predecessor’s, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was forced to defend the false claim. Washington Post, "Mr Never Wrong: Storm spat underscores Trump’s mindset," 6 Sep. 2019 In a land of long memories, people still fume over the decision by Northern Ireland’s unionist masters in 1965 to launch the region’s second university not in Derry but in Protestant Coleraine. The Economist, "Brexit or not, Derry will think in all-island terms," 8 Aug. 2019 Instead, Maduro remains ensconced in Caracas and can keep fuming to supporters about the Yankee plots against his rule. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump’s maximum pressure tactics are incoherent," 21 June 2019 Beckham, who flung his helmet to the Browns’ trainer, was fuming on the sideline while Mayfield faced a third and 5. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Browns overpower Jets, 23-3, as Odell Beckham and Myles Garrett get revenge on Gregg Williams," 17 Sep. 2019 Dantonio is fuming about a penalty the Pac-12 officiating crew missed late in the game. oregonlive, "It’s time for the Oregon Ducks’ offensive line to play to its reputation: Issues & Answers," 16 Sep. 2019 Carr wasn't just fuming about the lack of a defensive interference call. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Raiders quarterback Derek Carr rips interference call: 'Blows my mind'," 16 Sep. 2019 Farmers hit hard by Trump EPA's new ethanol rules are fumingPresident Donald Trump won the Midwest in 2016, thanks in no small part to farmers. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Florida on alert, Hong Kong activists detained & senior gamers: The Morning Rundown," 30 Aug. 2019

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

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for fume

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

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More Definitions for fume


How to pronounce fume (audio)

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 How to pronounce fume (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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something of little or no value

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