hmm

interjection

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

Examples of hmm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When the suits can’t carry the day, the bodies get all the attention (hmm . . . Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Unlike some other Bachelor franchise lightning rods (Lee Garrett, Luke Parker, Chad Johnson... hmm all the really bad ones are men), Olivia wasn’t actually that terrible. Lia Beck, refinery29.com, 22 June 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hmm was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near hmm

Cite this Entry

“Hmm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hmm. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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