\ 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

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

After hearing concerns from the public about water and air quality, noise, gaseous fumes and hours of operation, RCPG members discussed a motion to table the item to a July or August meeting. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Neighbors cry foul over proposed egg ranch manure plant," 11 June 2019 In April, an Australian University evacuated its library fearing a gas leak that turned out to be the fumes of a rotting durian. Laignee Barron, Time, "Thailand to Send Smelly Durian Into Space Because Future Astronauts Should be Able to Enjoy Thai Food," 1 June 2018 One woman is dead and another is in critical condition after dry ice left in the car the two were traveling in gave off toxic fumes, officials in Washington said. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Dry ice left in car leaves 1 dead, 1 in critical condition: report," 31 July 2018 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:05 Volcanic eruption in Hawaii: Lava, ash and toxic fumesAdvertisement Scenes from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii, which has been erupting for more than 20 days. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Please don’t take selfies with the deadly molten lava, Hawaii authorities ask," 20 June 2018 CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports from Pahoa that people who live in the area are sleeping at night with gas masks beside the bed just in case the wind shifts direction and toxic fumes start blowing their way. CBS News, "Gas released by volcano eruption poses immediate danger, officials warn," 15 May 2018 If New Orleans is an aging beauty queen drunk on the fumes of her glorious past, Plaquemines Parish, to the southeast, is plain old sloshed — not to mention saturated, striated, slivered and surrounded by water. Jennifer Moses, New York Times, "At the Mouth of the Mississippi, a Weird and Fragile Beauty," 21 Feb. 2018 The Chamonix valley is often shrouded in smog, the product of wood-burning chimneys and the exhaust fumes of lorries rumbling to the Mont Blanc Tunnel between France and Italy. The Economist, "Trouble on the slopesWinter sports face a double threat, from climate and demographic change," 25 Jan. 2018 In a mask to protect against the risks of toxic fumes from the debris, Michael, who declined to give his last name, looked over his father’s home. Scott Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Nearly a month after the Camp Fire began razing their towns, Californians return to ruin," 5 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The paused protesters spun and ran again, smoke fumes licking at their backs. Alice Su, latimes.com, "A new kind of Hong Kong activism emerges as protesters mobilize without any leaders," 14 June 2019 As Alceste, Elliott Kashner fumes and stammers with disgust, often while dangling a couplet’s final word for comic effect. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "‘A Misanthrope’ brings Molière’s fabulous fakes into the 21st century," 5 June 2019 Tie Game: Mané Scores This time it’s Madrid’s defenders who are fuming. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Real Madrid Beats Liverpool in Champions League Final on a Wonder and Two Blunders," 27 May 2018 Last month, the chief of staff who once fumed about the access given to Wolff carved out time in his schedule for a book interview of his own. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "John Kelly: Is White House chief of staff on the outside looking in?," 9 Apr. 2018 Last month, the chief of staff who once fumed about the access given to Wolff carved out time in his schedule for a book interview of his own. Author: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "'When you lose that power': How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian," 8 Apr. 2018 Last month, the chief of staff who once fumed about the access given to Wolff carved out time in his schedule for a book interview of his own. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "'When you lose that power': How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian," 7 Apr. 2018 The irony is that the same progressives who obsess over inequality and statistical disparities also fume at education reforms... Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Progressives Threaten to Destroy School Reform," 2 Apr. 2019 Congress has voted to provide less than $1.4 billion for border barriers, leaving Democrats and some Republicans fuming that Trump is abusing his powers by ignoring Congress’ constitutional control over spending. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "Trump border emergency survives as House veto override fails," 27 Mar. 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

17 Jun 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 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

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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