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murmur

[mur-mer] /ˈmɜr mər/
noun
1.
a low, continuous sound, as of a brook, the wind, or trees, or of low, indistinct voices.
2.
a mumbled or private expression of discontent.
3.
Also called heart murmur. Medicine/Medical.
  1. an abnormal sound heard on listening to the heart, usually through a stethoscope, produced by the blood passing through deformed cardiac valves.
  2. in some persons a similar sound heard when blood passes through normal valves.
4.
Phonetics. a voice quality in which vibration of the vocal cords is accompanied by the escape of a great deal of air, as in the (h) of ahead; breathy voice.
verb (used without object)
5.
to make a low or indistinct sound, especially continuously.
6.
to speak in a low tone or indistinctly.
7.
to complain in a low tone or in private.
verb (used with object)
8.
to sound by murmurs.
9.
to utter in a low tone:
He murmured a threat as he left the room.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; (v.) Middle English murmuren < Latin murmurāre; (noun) Middle English < Latin
Related forms
murmurer, noun
murmurless, adjective
murmurlessly, adverb
unmurmured, adjective
unmurmuring, adjective
unmurmuringly, adverb
Synonyms
1. grumble, susurration, mumble, complaint, mutter. 6. Murmur, mumble, mutter mean to make sounds that are not fully intelligible. To murmur is to utter sounds or words in a low, almost inaudible tone, as in expressing affection or dissatisfaction: to murmur disagreement. To mumble is to utter imperfect or inarticulate sounds with the mouth partly closed, so that the words can be distinguished only with difficulty: to mumble the answer to a question. To mutter is to utter words in a low, grumbling way, often voicing complaint or discontent, not meant to be fully audible: to mutter complaints. 7. grouse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for murmur
  • The roar of the engines will be muted to a murmur by sound insulation in the fuselage.
  • For decades the annual negotiations generated barely a murmur of interest from outsiders.
  • The voices murmur behind her; bombers drone in the sky, though she looks for the planes and can't see them.
  • They betray no fervor, murmur softly and idly to one another as they shuffle toward the severe marble tomb.
  • Every time he touched the ball, a murmur went through the crowd.
  • There is a mild murmur of approval from the group.
  • You'll now hear a loud murmur.
  • Also nearly obscured by dense trees is the source of the murmur, a narrow trickle at the bottom of a brush-choked gully.
  • They just want him to strum and murmur those wistful songs, singing words written by a young man who was already old at heart.
  • Maresh went for a routine physical exam for all incoming athletes at the university last week, when a heart murmur was discovered.
British Dictionary definitions for murmur

murmur

/ˈmɜːmə/
noun
1.
a continuous low indistinct sound, as of distant voices
2.
an indistinct utterance: a murmur of satisfaction
3.
a complaint; grumble: he made no murmur at my suggestion
4.
(med) any abnormal soft blowing sound heard within the body, usually over the chest See also heart murmur
verb -murs, -muring, -mured
5.
to utter (something) in a murmur
6.
(intransitive) to complain in a murmur
Derived Forms
murmurer, noun
murmuring, noun, adjective
murmuringly, adverb
murmurous, adjective
Word Origin
C14: as n, from Latin murmur; vb via Old French murmurer from Latin murmurāre to rumble
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 murmur
n.

late 14c., "expression of discontent by grumbling," from Old French murmure "murmur, sound of human voices; trouble, argument" (12c.), noun of action from murmurer "to murmur," from Latin murmurare "to murmur, mutter," from murmur (n.) "a hum, muttering, rushing," probably from a PIE reduplicative base *mor-mor, of imitative origin (cf. Sanskrit murmurah "crackling fire," Greek mormyrein "to roar, boil," Lithuanian murmlenti "to murmur"). Meaning "softly spoken words" is from 1670s.

v.

late 14c., from Old French murmurer "murmur, grouse, grumble" (12c.), from murmur "rumbling noise" (see murmur (n.)). Related: Murmured; murmuring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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murmur in Medicine

murmur mur·mur (mûr'mər)
n.
An abnormal sound heard on auscultation of the heart, lungs, or blood vessels.

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 murmur

breathy voice

in phonetics, a speech sound or quality used in some languages, produced by vibrating vocal cords that are less tense than in normal speech, which produces local turbulence in the airstream resulting in a compromise between full voice and whisper. English speakers produce a vocal fry when suggesting ghost wails with an oo-sound. See also voice; whisper.

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