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hum

[huhm] /hʌm/
verb (used without object), hummed, humming.
1.
to make a low, continuous, droning sound.
2.
to give forth an indistinct sound of mingled voices or noises.
3.
to utter an indistinct sound in hesitation, embarrassment, dissatisfaction, etc.; hem.
4.
to sing with closed lips, without articulating words.
5.
to be in a state of busy activity:
The household hummed in preparation for the wedding.
6.
British Slang. to have a bad odor, as of stale perspiration.
verb (used with object), hummed, humming.
7.
to sound, sing, or utter by humming:
to hum a tune.
8.
to bring, put, etc., by humming:
to hum a child to sleep.
noun
9.
the act or sound of humming; an inarticulate or indistinct murmur; hem.
10.
Audio. an unwanted low-frequency sound caused by power-line frequencies in any audio component.
interjection
11.
(an inarticulate sound uttered in contemplation, hesitation, dissatisfaction, doubt, etc.)
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English; ultimately imitative; cognate with German hummen to hum; cf. humblebee
Related forms
underhum, noun
Synonyms
5. bustle, buzz.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hum
  • Instead small flutes are attached allowing the wind to hum a musical tune.
British Dictionary definitions for hum

hum

/hʌm/
verb hums, humming, hummed
1.
(intransitive) to make a low continuous vibrating sound like that of a prolonged m
2.
(intransitive) (of a person) to sing with the lips closed
3.
(intransitive) to utter an indistinct sound, as in hesitation; hem
4.
(intransitive) (informal) to be in a state of feverish activity
5.
(intransitive) (Brit & Irish, slang) to smell unpleasant
6.
(intransitive) (Austral, slang) to scrounge
7.
hum and haw, See hem2 (sense 3)
noun
8.
a low continuous murmuring sound
9.
(electronics) an undesired low-frequency noise in the output of an amplifier or receiver, esp one caused by the power supply
10.
(Austral, slang) a scrounger; cadger
11.
(Brit & Irish, slang) an unpleasant odour
interjection, noun
12.
an indistinct sound of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
Derived Forms
hummer, noun
Word Origin
C14: of imitative origin; compare Dutch hommelen, Old High German humbal bumblebee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hum
v.

late 14c., hommen "make a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment," later hummen "to buzz, drone" (early 15c.), probably of imitative origin. Sense of "sing with closed lips" is first attested late 15c.; that of "be busy and active" is 1884, perhaps on analogy of a beehive. Related: Hummed; humming. Humming-bird (1630s) so called from sound made by the rapid vibration of its wings.

There is a curious bird to see to, called a humming bird, no bigger then a great Beetle. [Thomas Morton, "New English Canaan," 1637]

n.

mid-15c., from hum (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hum in Medicine

hum (hŭm)
n.
A low, continuous murmur blended of many sounds.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for hum

(from Spanish pepino, "cucumber"), also called Hum (Serbo-Croatian: "hill"), or Haystack Hill, conical hill of residual limestone in a deeply eroded karst region. Pepino hills generally form on relatively flat-lying limestones that are jointed in large rectangles. In an alternating wet and dry climate, high areas become increasingly hard and resistant while low areas are subjected to greater erosion and solution. In some places, such as the Kwangsi area of China, pepino hills may have almost vertical sides and may be riddled with caves. Pepino hills develop to greater heights in regions having subtropical or equatorial rainfall and are then generally called mogotes (Spanish: "hillocks").

Learn more about hum with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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