Definition of murmur in English:

murmur

Line breaks: mur¦mur
Pronunciation: /ˈməːmə
 
/

noun

1A low continuous background noise: the distant murmur of traffic
More example sentences
  • Cath watched long enough that the sounds in the cafeteria became a distant murmur, a sort of background noise to her thoughts.
  • The whole medical section was silent for a moment save for the hum of equipment, then the background murmur started again.
  • Snow-like petals carpeted the lawn, softening the sound of footsteps to a distant murmur.
Synonyms
2A softly spoken or almost inaudible utterance: a quiet murmur of thanks
More example sentences
  • I let out a breath, along with a little murmur of thanks to whatever god might be up there.
  • ‘I'll teach you,’ he kept muttering, though his murmurs were nearly indecipherable.
  • With a murmur of thanks he took it from me and began rapidly riffling through the pages until he came to ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle.’
2.1The quiet or subdued expression of a particular feeling by a group of people: there were murmurs of dissent from his colleagues
More example sentences
  • After that psychological barrier was passed, the remaining scrambles and squeezes were negotiated with relative ease, and any mutinous murmurs were thankfully subdued.
  • Her haggard face and melancholy expression elicited a murmur of shock from the assemblage of reporters as she moved to the podium and began to speak.
  • Nary a murmur of dissent was voiced amongst the remarkably relaxed muso crowd.
Synonyms
3 Medicine A recurring sound heard in the heart through a stethoscope that is usually a sign of disease or damage: she had been born with a heart murmur
More example sentences
  • A doctor may suspect aortic valve sclerosis on hearing a heart murmur with a stethoscope.
  • Sometimes, a doctor can determine with the stethoscope alone whether a particular murmur is a sign of heart disease.
  • A murmur is heard through a stethoscope as the heart beats.

verb

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1 [reporting verb] Say something in a low or indistinct voice: [with object]: Nina murmured an excuse and hurried away [with direct speech]: ‘How interesting,’ he murmured quietly
More example sentences
  • I am so caught up in thinking about the stark contrast that I don't hear the voices murmuring softly behind the door.
  • A hand stroked my hair and the voice murmured reassurances.
  • The other woman, her voice lower, murmured some words of consolation to her friend.
1.1 [no object] (murmur against) archaic Express one’s discontent about (someone or something) in a subdued manner: now they do not simply murmur against him, they quarrel noisily with him
More example sentences
  • The murmurs against Bruno's physical and mental stamina had already begun.
  • But the scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’
Synonyms
informal gripe, beef, bitch, whinge
British informal chunter, grizzle
Northern English informal mither
2 [no object] Make a low continuous sound: the wind was murmuring through the trees
More example sentences
  • You will have just the sound of the wilderness, the wind murmuring through the trees and the sound of your reel as another big fish bends your stick while you and other members of your family who fish enjoy some great sport.
  • The audience was murmuring, but Gwion continued with his speech.
  • The air was luminous; a faint south wind murmured in the pine tops.
Synonyms
mutter, mumble, whisper, talk under one's breath, speak in an undertone, speak softly, speak sotto voce, speak in hushed tones;
rustle, whir, burble, purl, rumble, sigh
literary whisper, breathe

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French murmure, from murmurer 'to murmur', from Latin murmurare, from murmur 'a murmur'.

Phrases

without a murmur

Without complaining: he paid for the meal without a murmur
More example sentences
  • I was now ready to bear whatever might ensue without a murmur.
  • Many would have expected the matter to have been discussed at last month's county board meeting but it was passed over by delegates without a murmur, with the post left vacant.
  • Sure, I had to empty the hopper rather more frequently, and ended up with two sacks of cuttings rather than one, but the mower handled the job of cutting two week's growth without a murmur.

Derivatives

murmurer

noun

murmurous

adjective
More example sentences
  • Jacqueline du Pre was a gawky 20 year-old with a dazzling smile when she stepped into Kingsway Hall, Holborn, on August 19, 1965 to find Sir John Barbirolli on the rostrum and the London Symphony Orchestra in murmurous mood.
  • A more immediately evident reference to the goat-being sequence is in Joyce's use of ‘hither and thither’ to indicate a murmurous, tactile speech-act.
  • The liquid coursed down the fabric in rivulets and emptied into a semicircular metal basin below, producing the murmurous sound of a steady downpour.

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