\ 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


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

The Agnes Scott students correctly hummed the themes of five works of classical music, then Princeton answered a question on geology. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Robert Earle, host of popular TV quiz show ‘General Electric College Bowl,’ dies at 93," 9 June 2019 Inside, the 120-year-old house is humming as diners enjoy chicken salad, spinach quiche, strawberry crepes, hormone-free burgers and the café's famous tomato pie. Bob Carlton |,, "The story behind Mentone’s Wildflower Cafe and the woman who keeps it funky," 7 June 2019 The economy was humming, but job growth was choppy, and wage gains anemic. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Factories Tire of Wage Wars; Give Fridays Off, Spiff Up Bathrooms," 10 May 2019 During the summer, box fans hummed in all the windows. Jesmyn Ward, The Atlantic, "How Poverty and Racism Persist in Mississippi," 1 Mar. 2018 Suddenly, with everything in position, the arc strengthened and held steady, humming like a power line. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "How I Learned To Build With Metal," 24 May 2019 Employers have added an average of 169,000 jobs a month over the past three months, a sign the economy’s job engine is humming nicely after fears of... Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "April Jobs Report Won’t Alter Federal Reserve’s Wait-and-See Approach," 3 May 2019 For instance, Kourtney Kardashian has endorsed bee-venom skin products, and tabloids have hummed over reports that Kate Middleton, Victoria Beckham, and others use bee-venom facials and other products. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Woman dies from bee-sting therapy that Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow promote," 21 Mar. 2018 Mia Moretti, who came out for the preview, could be seen humming with dedication into this mic. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Designer Nili Lotan Hosts a Preview of the Exhibition “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything”," 11 Apr. 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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Dictionary Entries near hum







Humala (Tasso)

Statistics for hum

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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).


a tendency to relapse

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