From Middle English hummen (“to hum, buzz, drone, make a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment”); akin to Dutch hommelen (“to bumble, buzz”), dialectal Dutch hommen (“to buzz, hum”), Middle High German hummen (“to hum”), probably ultimately of imitative origin.
hum (plural hums)
- A hummed tune, i.e. created orally with lips closed.
- An often indistinct sound resembling human humming.
- Busy activity, like the buzz of a beehive.
- (Britain, slang) unpleasant odour.
- (dated) An imposition or hoax; humbug.
- (obsolete) A kind of strong drink.
- A phenomenon, or collection of phenomena, involving widespread reports of a persistent and invasive low-frequency humming, rumbling, or droning noise not audible to all people.
hum (third-person singular simple present hums, present participle humming, simple past and past participle hummed)
- (intransitive) To make a sound from the vocal chords without pronouncing any real words, with one's lips closed.
- (transitive) To express by humming.
- (intransitive) To drone like certain insects naturally do in motion, or sounding similarly
- (intransitive) To buzz, be busily active like a beehive
- (intransitive) To produce low sounds which blend continuously
- (Britain, slang) To reek, smell bad.
- (transitive, Britain, dated, slang) To flatter by approving; to cajole; to deceive or impose upon; to humbug.
- Synonym of hmm: a noise indicating thought, consideration, &c.
- Synonym of um: a noise indicating doubt, uncertainty, &c.