\ 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

Learn More About hmm

Dictionary Entries Near hmm

hmlt

hmm

HMMWV

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hmm

Cite this Entry

“Hmm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hmm. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!