\ 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

Trump has been counting on Powell to help blunt the effect of his trade war by cutting interest rates to keep the economy humming. Keith Bradsher,, "Trump says he will raise existing tariffs on Chinese goods to 30%," 23 Aug. 2019 His velocity kept humming around his standard 92 mph. Maria Torres,, "Tyler Skaggs dominates as Angels reach .500 in win over Blue Jays," 18 June 2019 My meals for one, the humming silence of empty rooms. Jen Mcguire, Good Housekeeping, "Instead of Mourning the Loss of My Boys, I Set Off to Find Who I Was Without Them," 17 June 2019 Bevin has been rated as the most unpopular governor in the country despite a humming state economy and close relationship with President Trump, who remains popular in the Bluegrass. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin's chief of staff: I fired Jenean Hampton's aide. Here's why," 15 June 2019 The animals sit in a sterile room, listening to the soft lullaby of a humming air-conditioning unit, waking up for meals or to romp about the cage. Andrew Nicla,, "Late hours, no pay, diminishing returns: Scouring the Arizona desert for black-footed ferrets," 10 July 2019 Our state’s PGA Tour event has been humming along since, better every year. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: Phil Mickelson coming to grips with the fact that he is unlikely to ever win the U.S. Open," 20 June 2019 But the show is also, humming at its lower registers, a work of horror. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "‘Giving You Salt’: The Most Powerful Moment on Big Little Lies So Far," 17 June 2019 Who goofed up giving the thumbs-up and, given that the place has been humming for more than a month, what if anything can be done? Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Opa-locka has a fancy new strip joint. Trouble is, the city isn’t sure how it got there | Miami Herald," 3 Mar. 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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Dictionary Entries near hum







Humala (Tasso)

Statistics for hum

Last Updated

4 Sep 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).


recurring in steady succession

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