\ ˈᵊm How to pronounce hmm (audio) , ˈhᵊm, often with a prolonged syllabic m \
variants: or less commonly hm or hmmm

Definition of hmm

1 used to express the action or process of thinking Let's get one question out of the way immediately … : does Spike Lee like to cause trouble? "Hmm," he says, sighing. "Yeah, I guess you could call me an instigator."— Patrick DemarchelierAs an undergraduate, I settled on history, and diplomatic history, because I had a really cool professor. I was thinking, Hmmm, I wonder how you get to be a diplomat?— Julia Wilkinson
2 used to emphasize that one has asked a question and is awaiting an answer But tell Santa the truth now, what's the most important part to a little boy or girl? The box? The wrapping paper? Or the game that comes in the box? Hmmm? It's the present, of course.— Mark Newman
3 used to request repetition or clarification of something just said "So tell me," I said. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" "Hmm?" "What brings you here?"— David Housewright

First Known Use of hmm

1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Cite this Entry

“Hmm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hmm. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of hmm

used to represent a sound made by someone who is thinking about what to say or do

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