Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To emit a continuous low droning sound like that of the speech sound (m) when prolonged.
  • intransitive verb To emit the continuous droning sound of a bee on the wing; buzz.
  • intransitive verb To give forth a low continuous drone blended of many sounds.
  • intransitive verb To be in a state of busy activity.
  • intransitive verb To produce a tune without opening the lips or forming words.
  • intransitive verb To sing (a tune) without opening the lips or forming words.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To throw or pitch (a ball) very fast.
  • noun The sound produced by humming.
  • noun The act of humming.
  • interjection Used to indicate hesitation, surprise, or displeasure.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An imposition or hoax; a humbug.
  • An interjectional, hesitating sound, uttered with or during a pause; hem; h'm.
  • To trick or delude; impose on; cajole.
  • noun Any inarticulate, low, murmuring, or buzzing sound, as that made by bees in flight, by a spinning top, etc.; a faint continuous sound having no definite pitch; a buzz.
  • noun Specifically— A low confused noise, as of a crowd, or of distant voices or sounds of any kind.
  • noun A buzz or murmur of applause or approbation.
  • noun A sound uttered with closed mouth by a speaker in a pause from embarrassment, affectation, or the like: as, hums and haws. Also (and now more commonly) hem.
  • noun A drink formerly common, probably made of strong ale or of ale and spirit. Its exact composition is not known.
  • To make a prolonged droning sound, as a bee in flight; drone; murmur; buzz.
  • To give utterance to a similar sound, such as the droning of a tune, a contemptuous or vacant mumbling, a murmuring expression of applause or satisfaction, hesitation, dissent, etc.
  • Same as hem.
  • To sing with shut mouth, as to the sound m; murmur without articulation; mumble: as, to hum an air.
  • To express approbation of, or applaud, by humming.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To make a low, prolonged sound, like that of a bee in flight; to drone; to murmur; to buzz.
  • intransitive verb To make a nasal sound, like that of the letter m prolonged, without opening the mouth, or articulating; to mumble in monotonous undertone; to drone.
  • intransitive verb To make an inarticulate sound, like h'm, through the nose in the process of speaking, from embarrassment or a affectation; to hem.
  • intransitive verb To express satisfaction by a humming noise.
  • intransitive verb To have the sensation of a humming noise.
  • noun A low monotonous noise, as of bees in flight, of a swiftly revolving top, of a wheel, or the like; a drone; a buzz.
  • noun Any inarticulate and buzzing sound.
  • noun The confused noise of a crowd or of machinery, etc., heard at a distance.
  • noun A buzz or murmur, as of approbation.
  • noun An imposition or hoax.
  • noun An inarticulate nasal sound or murmur, like h'm, uttered by a speaker in pause from embarrassment, affectation, etc.
  • noun obsolete A kind of strong drink formerly used.
  • noun See under Venous.
  • transitive verb To sing with shut mouth; to murmur without articulation; to mumble.
  • transitive verb To express satisfaction with by humming.
  • transitive verb Colloq. & Low To flatter by approving; to cajole; to impose on; to humbug.
  • interjection Ahem; hem; an inarticulate sound uttered in a pause of speech implying doubt and deliberation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A hummed tune, i.e. created orally with lips closed.
  • noun An often indistinct sound resembling human humming.
  • noun Busy activity, like a beehive's buzz
  • noun UK, slang unpleasant odour.
  • verb intransitive To make a sound from the vocal chords without pronouncing any real words, with one's lips closed.
  • verb transitive To express of affect by humming
  • verb intransitive To drone like certain insects naturally do in motion, or sounding similarly
  • verb intransitive To buzz, be busily active like a beehive
  • verb intransitive To produce low sounds which blend continuously

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English hummen, of imitative origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English hommen "make a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment," later (medieval English) hummen "to buzz, drone" (c.1420); akin to (medieval and modern) Dutch hommel 'humblebee', medieval German hummen 'to hum', probably ultimately of imitative origin

Examples

Comments

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  • "Empty of everything, in a hum of sempiternal readiness for that soul-wilting, muse-recoiling Jawohl, Herr Kommandant! to shoot up one’s spinal column as quick as a blastula ..." from John Latta's Isola di Rifiuti

    August 3, 2007

  • Citation on bagpipes.

    June 26, 2008

  • Also a term for pleasantly strong liquor; a mixture of ale or beer, and spirits.

    July 11, 2008

  • the smallest city in the world; located in Croatia.

    May 6, 2009

  • See comment under pulmonically.

    February 22, 2011

  • "The milt of a codfish dressed, a delicacy." --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841.

    May 23, 2011