mum's word

mum

1 [muhm]
adjective
1.
silent; not saying a word: to keep mum.
interjection
2.
say nothing! be silent!
Idioms
3.
mum's the word, do not reveal what you know (about something); keep silent: Mum's the word, or the surprise party won't be a surprise.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English momme; imitative

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mum1 (mʌm)
 
n
chiefly (Brit) an informal word for mother
 
[C19: a child's word]

mum2 (mʌm)
 
adj
1.  keeping information to oneself; silent
 
n
2.  mum's the word silence or secrecy is to be observed
 
[C14: suggestive of closed lips]

mum or mumm3 (mʌm)
 
vb , mums, mumming, mummed
(intr) to act in a mummer's play
 
[C16: verbal use of mum²]
 
mumm or mumm3
 
vb
 
[C16: verbal use of mum²]

mum4 (mʌm)
 
n
obsolete (Brit) a type of beer made from cereals, beans, etc
 
[C17: from German Mumme, perhaps from the name of its original brewer]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mum
1560s, from M.E. mum, mom "silent" (late 14c.), imitative of the sound made with closed lips, as indicative of unwillingness or inability to speak. Phrase mum's the word is first recorded 1704.

mum
abbreviation of chrysanthemum, first attested 1924 in the jargon of gardeners.

mum
1823, pet word for "mother," short for mummy. In British sociology, used from 1957 in ref. to "the working class mother as an influence in the lives of her children."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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