\ ˈhəm How to pronounce hum (audio) \
hummed; humming

Definition of hum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to utter a sound like that of the speech sound \m\ prolonged humming along with the music
b : to make the natural noise of an insect in motion or a similar sound : drone listening to the bees hum in the garden
c : to give forth a low continuous blend of sound the sound of children's voices with which the house was always humming— J. M. Brinnin
2a : to be busily active the museum hummed with visitors
b : to run smoothly the business started to hum

transitive verb

1 : to sing with the lips closed and without uttering speech sounds distinctly hum a tune
2 : to express by making a vocal sound with the lips pressed together : to affect by humming hummed his displeasure


Definition of hum (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British spelling of , hem entry 4

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Other Words from hum


hum noun
hummable \ ˈhə-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce hummable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of hum in a Sentence

Verb The garden was humming with bees. The refrigerator hummed in the background. I was humming to myself. We hummed along to the music. I hummed a little song. By noon, the office was really humming. The restaurant hums on weekends.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For brief moments during the first of a two-day scheduled open test, cars slipped and spun around COTA in packs as large as five, but the 25 engines stationed in pit lane never hummed at their highest timbre. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Cold temperatures stall first day of IndyCar open test at Circuit of the Americas," 11 Feb. 2020 All its coffees are roasted in small batches inside the café in three countertop Ailio Bullet R1 roasters that quietly hum as coffee purists peruse a rotating list of over a dozen coffees and four espresso roasts. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "A Coffee-Obsessive’s Guide to Drinking the Best Coffee in Vancouver," 7 Nov. 2019 The return of trillion-dollar deficit now comes as the economy is humming on all cylinders, with the CBO predicting that the jobless rate nationwide will average below 4% through at least 2022. Andrew Taylor,, "Budget deficit to break $1 trillion despite strong economy," 28 Jan. 2020 The site was humming with activity because Cho had recruited nearly a dozen friends, neighbors, and relatives to help shoulder the workload. National Geographic, "This Vietnamese national park is a spice lover’s dream," 18 Jan. 2020 By most official measures, California’s economy is humming. Lia Russell, The New Republic, "The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare.," 16 Jan. 2020 Prediction Virginia Tech 31, Kentucky 17 VIRGINIA TECH (-134) was humming along until a loss to Virginia in the regular-season finale. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky odds, picks and best bets," 30 Dec. 2019 Despite the reports, Crown Heights was humming with pedestrian traffic on Friday afternoon, with Hanukkah underway. Andrea Salcedo, New York Times, "N.Y.P.D. Steps Up Patrols After Reports of 8 Anti-Semitic Incidents," 27 Dec. 2019 Back stage, the kitchen is humming with focused bustle. cleveland, "Edwins, a restaurant serving up second chances for ex-offenders: Cleveland Champions," 26 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hum.' 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 hum


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

History and Etymology for hum


Middle English hummen; akin to Middle High German hummen to hum, Middle Dutch hommel bumblebee

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Time Traveler for hum

Time Traveler

The first known use of hum was in the 14th century

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Statistics for hum

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for hum


How to pronounce hum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hum

: to make a low continuous sound
: to sing the notes of a song while keeping your lips closed
: to be very active or busy


\ ˈhəm How to pronounce hum (audio) \
hummed; humming

Kids Definition of hum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to utter a sound like a long \m\
2 : to make the buzzing noise of a flying insect
3 : to make musical tones with closed lips
4 : to give forth a low murmur of sounds The street was humming with activity.
5 : to be very busy or active The mall hummed with shoppers.



Kids Definition of hum (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a low continuous noise the hum of bees
2 : musical tones voiced without words


\ ˈhəm How to pronounce hum (audio) \

Medical Definition of hum

: a sound like that made by humming especially : venous hum

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More from Merriam-Webster on hum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hum

Spanish Central: Translation of hum

Nglish: Translation of hum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hum for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about hum

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