fume

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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 patriotismMatthew Arnold
3
: a state of excited irritation or anger
usually used in the phrase in a fume
fumy adjective

fume

2 of 2

verb

fumed; fuming

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

1
a
: 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
Phrases
on fumes
: with little of the original strength or energy remaining
tired ballplayers running on fumes

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In a state filled with more than 100,000 unplugged oil and gas wells, environmental advocates say that defending the setbacks law is essential to eventually phase out planet-warming fossil fuels and protect residents who live near the toxic fumes released by drill sites. Tony Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2024 Individual sources of NOx and VOCs include any activities that burn fuel or release fumes into the air, including commuting in a gas car, mowing the lawn or doing home improvements with VOC paints or other chemicals. Natalie Wallington, Kansas City Star, 27 June 2024
Verb
Boeing’s union boasts a proud, militant heritage—and members still fume over their skewering on the last contract The IAM dates from 1888, when 17 machinists gathered in an Atlanta railroad pit under cloak of darkness, to form a union. Will Daniel, Fortune, 26 June 2024 The company made a similar decision in 2019 over a clip that was slowed down to make then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear drunk − even as Democrats fumed. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 5 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for fume 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fume.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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.

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near fume

Cite this Entry

“Fume.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fume. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

fume

1 of 2 noun
: a disagreeable smoke, vapor, or gas
usually used in plural
acid fumes
fumy adjective

fume

2 of 2 verb
fumed; fuming
1
: to expose to or treat with fumes
2
: to give off fumes
3
: to show bad temper or anger

More from Merriam-Webster on fume

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