\ 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

Other Words from hum


hum noun
hummable \ ˈhə-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce hum (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The remaining remixed tracks, meanwhile, range from nostalgia-worthy to ho-hum. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 18 Mar. 2022 Another endeavor in 2020 gave users the ability to hum to search for specific songs. Rachel Metz, CNN, 7 Apr. 2022 People pack into little booths that hum with the beeps and bops of the plate counter, ordering screen and mini sushi plates that zoom past on two levels of conveyor belts. Andi Berlin, The Arizona Republic, 12 Mar. 2022 At Bullfrog, a Utah marina that in most years would hum with boaters and personal watercraft riders, the Park Service this month was preparing to temporarily extend a second motorized access point for the summer., 1 Mar. 2022 The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported. HARTFORD — The last victory for the UConn women’s basketball team was relatively ho-hum, as this tumultuous season has gone. Dom Amore,, 22 Feb. 2022 The same issue applies to most of the game's ho-hum zombie cast. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 2 Feb. 2022 Our extended highway drives have also revealed some welcome subtleties about life with the latest Corvette, such as its V-8's ability to hum along on just four cylinders, even at 80 mph. David Beard, Car and Driver, 11 Feb. 2022 On Monday morning, the tree did not hum its happiness. Lauren Groff, The New Yorker, 7 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hum


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on hum

Nglish: Translation of hum for Spanish Speakers

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


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