\ˈhəm \
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 \ adjective

Synonyms for hum

Synonyms: Verb

bumble, burr, buzz, drone, whir (also whirr), whish, whiz (or whizz), zip, zoom

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Examples of hum in a Sentence


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

Economically, Loudoun County is humming from the technology boom in Washington’s suburbs, with the number of businesses rising 49 percent from 2005 to 2015. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "One County Thrives. The Next One Over Struggles. Economists Take Note.," 29 June 2018 But on this June day, saws were humming, hammers ringing, and the scissors elevator punctuated the air with a high-pitched beep-beep-beep. Hattie Bernstein,, "Flock from Bible Belt arrives to help raise Chinese church," 22 June 2018 Each is a replica of the last, a humming absence spinning into the ether. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 Normally bustling streets and humming subway stations stood empty. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Four Countries. Two Games. One Goal.," 12 July 2018 His fastball hums around 91 mph, his cutter and his changeup disrupt the timing of his opponents and his curveball ends at-bats. Andy Mccullough,, "Jon Lester silences Dodgers bats in Cubs' 4-0 victory," 20 June 2018 The former is the ever-humming engine of creativity. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Pose and the Uncapturable Brilliance of the Ballroom," 7 June 2018 The humming car engine of Mr. Barbosa’s driver, who is reluctant to leave the comfort of the vehicle’s air conditioning, adds to the cacophony. Samantha Pearson, WSJ, "World’s Strangest Opera House, Deep in the Jungle, Makes Unusual Pitch to Locals," 22 May 2018 The humming economy certainly means less people need assistance. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Is Donald Trump the John Wooden of presidents? Evaluating the case for Trump’s new favorite metaphor.," 15 May 2018

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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Learn More about hum

Dictionary Entries near hum







Humala (Tasso)

Phrases Related to hum

hem and haw

Statistics for hum

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hum

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

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More Definitions for hum



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 \
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 \

Medical Definition of hum 

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

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Comments on hum

What made you want to look up hum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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