Definition of humdrum in US English:



  • Lacking excitement or variety; dull; monotonous.

    ‘humdrum routine work’
    • ‘Once the honeymoon's over and you settle into the humdrum pattern of everyday life, it's easy to get bored.’
    • ‘We all know how easily innocence is lost, how simple it is to thoughtlessly embrace cynicism and the humdrum monotony of what we call everyday life.’
    • ‘I find a lot of the people I see everyday very humdrum and old beyond their years.’
    • ‘He could not get up everyday and face the daily humdrum life of a high school English teacher.’
    • ‘It gives such a poignancy to my usually humdrum life.’
    • ‘Having said that, however, there is something in the humdrum routine of everyday life in different cold and gray places around the world that fascinates me.’
    • ‘His poetry expresses a discontent with orderly lives and humdrum routine, praising spontaneity and emotion.’
    • ‘It would be nice to go beyond the usual everyday humdrum routine, I should think.’
    • ‘But even before they did, we felt it: the humdrum monotony of the one-day game has grated for a while now.’
    • ‘But when you actually do so, you suddenly become aware of how many sights and sounds you just take for granted and ignore in the course of everyday humdrum life.’
    • ‘It happened that way every day - get up, go to work, come back, sleep - and sometimes she wished something would happen to break the humdrum routine.’
    • ‘She'd gone about her morning with its usual humdrum routine.’
    • ‘Are you stuck in a rut, longing to be creative but unable to break free from the humdrum routine of your daily job?’
    • ‘The walk was long and rather dull because it was nothing but a dull narrow hall, serving its humdrum purpose splendidly.’
    • ‘While it lasts it prevents us from making shoes, writing books, from engaging in either the humdrum routine of life or in making crucial decisions.’
    • ‘You'd seen good marriages and bad marriages, but yours wasn't going to be one of those humdrum ones, or tedious ones, or ‘bad’ ones.’
    • ‘What were you reading when I came to take you away from your usually boring, humdrum life for a time?’
    • ‘Just a humdrum boring evening, she thought and sighed.’
    • ‘This was inevitably followed by a return to the humdrum reality of everyday life.’
    • ‘I used to feel almost trapped by the normal, everyday, humdrum life.’
    mundane, dull, dreary, boring, tedious, monotonous, banal, ho-hum, tiresome, wearisome, prosaic, unexciting, uninteresting, uneventful, unvarying, unvaried, unremarkable, repetitive, repetitious, routine, ordinary, everyday, day-to-day, quotidian, run-of-the-mill, commonplace, common, workaday, usual, pedestrian, customary, regular, normal
    View synonyms


  • Dullness; monotony.

    ‘an escape from the humdrum of his life’
    • ‘They just wanted to see something exciting happen, something to break up the mundane humdrum of everyday life.’
    • ‘You'd be hard pressed to find a better condensing of urban humdrum in under forty minutes this autumn.’
    • ‘Their suburban Boston clients envisioned their basement home theater as a place to escape from the humdrum of daily life.’
    • ‘One of the advantages of the summer recess is that it gives us politicians the opportunity to take a step back from the humdrum of party politics and time to think, listen and talk to others outside politics, as well as to learn.’
    • ‘You can win tickets to this new Australian movie about a man who escapes the humdrum of his suburban existence by floating away on a chair attached to helium balloons and finds new directions in life.’
    • ‘Superficially, the humdrum of life continues, with routine largely unruffled.’
    • ‘She was eleven years old now, alone in this little village that was surrounded by the humdrum of the daily activities of the city.’
    • ‘I saw my sport as a release from the everyday humdrum of life and as a sort of freedom from those things.’
    • ‘Just watching them and thinking that there had to be something more in this life for all of us than the everyday humdrum.’
    • ‘Oftentimes, Drew just couldn't be bothered with the daily humdrum of people buzzing along in her life, (like a hive of visionless bees).’
    • ‘The sitcom frequently rises above the usual humdrum with sharp writing and great character work.’
    • ‘Filled with their limited aspirations, men in shades and baseball hats peer into the sky at the battery-driven model planes which allow them to escape the humdrum; to soar above the everyday.’
    • ‘Perhaps what also appeals to us is the ability to escape the humdrum, routine, everyday boredom and frustration just by murmuring a spell.’
    • ‘There has been a tendency to see Rome as all pomp and glory but there is the humdrum about it as well.’
    • ‘When Canadians are on the road, an astounding 86 per cent choose to listen to music to beat the highway humdrum.’
    weariness, ennui, lack of enthusiasm, lack of interest, lack of concern, apathy, uninterestedness, unconcern, languor, sluggishness, accidie, malaise, world-weariness
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: probably a reduplication of hum.