Definition of harrumph in English:

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Pronunciation: /həˈrʌmf/


[no object]
1Clear the throat noisily: he harrumphed and said, ‘I am deeply obliged.’
More example sentences
  • The silence was doubly odd because Bringweather wasn't even harrumphing or clearing his phlegmy throat.
  • Every few seconds he harrumphed noisily to indicate his impatience.
  • I harrumphed, but what is a throat-clearing to someone who knowingly courts cancer two dozen times a day?
1.1Grumpily express dissatisfaction or disapproval: sceptics tend to harrumph at case histories like this
More example sentences
  • ‘We're all entitled to a bit of misanthropy now and again,’ he harrumphs when I ask about this, ‘considering the complete craziness of a lot of people in the world.’
  • ‘Some members of the media decide not to write accurately,’ she harrumphs in relation to a question about how her relationship with the press has changed over the years.
  • There is scant enthusiasm for a real leader; they seem stolid, harrumphing about white papers.


1A noisy clearing of the throat.
Example sentences
  • And all across the land, you heard muffled harrumphs of agreement from the faithful.
  • Interviewees have thus been treated to loftily dismissive asides, barely stifled yawns and muffled harrumphs.
  • I think he makes a harrumph sound, but he could be clearing a rogue sunflower seed from the workings of his oesophagus.
1.1A grumpy expression of dissatisfaction or disapproval: the violence in the material is not new, his harrumphs notwithstanding [as exclamation]: one can hear the objections already: too much trouble ... positively silly ... harrumph!
More example sentences
  • My antennae go up when people start talking about threats to "human individuality and dignity" - that's a harrumph, not an argument.
  • Yin Xi guessed the sound equated somewhat to a harrumph of dissatisfaction.


1930s: imitative.

Words that rhyme with harrumph

bumf, galumph, humph

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: har|rumph

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