Definition of humdrum in US English:



  • Lacking excitement or variety; dull; monotonous.

    ‘humdrum routine work’
    • ‘Just a humdrum boring evening, she thought and sighed.’
    • ‘What were you reading when I came to take you away from your usually boring, humdrum life for a time?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His poetry expresses a discontent with orderly lives and humdrum routine, praising spontaneity and emotion.’
    • ‘Are you stuck in a rut, longing to be creative but unable to break free from the humdrum routine of your daily job?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This was inevitably followed by a return to the humdrum reality of everyday life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She'd gone about her morning with its usual humdrum routine.’
    • ‘The walk was long and rather dull because it was nothing but a dull narrow hall, serving its humdrum purpose splendidly.’
    • ‘Once the honeymoon's over and you settle into the humdrum pattern of everyday life, it's easy to get bored.’
    • ‘I used to feel almost trapped by the normal, everyday, humdrum life.’
    • ‘I find a lot of the people I see everyday very humdrum and old beyond their years.’
    • ‘But even before they did, we felt it: the humdrum monotony of the one-day game has grated for a while now.’
    • ‘It would be nice to go beyond the usual everyday humdrum routine, I should think.’
    • ‘It gives such a poignancy to my usually humdrum life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He could not get up everyday and face the daily humdrum life of a high school English teacher.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
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  • Dullness; monotony.

    ‘an escape from the humdrum of his life’
    • ‘Oftentimes, Drew just couldn't be bothered with the daily humdrum of people buzzing along in her life, (like a hive of visionless bees).’
    • ‘Perhaps what also appeals to us is the ability to escape the humdrum, routine, everyday boredom and frustration just by murmuring a spell.’
    • ‘Superficially, the humdrum of life continues, with routine largely unruffled.’
    • ‘When Canadians are on the road, an astounding 86 per cent choose to listen to music to beat the highway humdrum.’
    • ‘I saw my sport as a release from the everyday humdrum of life and as a sort of freedom from those things.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sitcom frequently rises above the usual humdrum with sharp writing and great character work.’
    • ‘Just watching them and thinking that there had to be something more in this life for all of us than the everyday humdrum.’
    • ‘They just wanted to see something exciting happen, something to break up the mundane humdrum of everyday life.’
    • ‘She was eleven years old now, alone in this little village that was surrounded by the humdrum of the daily activities of the city.’
    • ‘You'd be hard pressed to find a better condensing of urban humdrum in under forty minutes this autumn.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There has been a tendency to see Rome as all pomp and glory but there is the humdrum about it as well.’
    • ‘Their suburban Boston clients envisioned their basement home theater as a place to escape from the humdrum of daily life.’
    weariness, ennui, lack of enthusiasm, lack of interest, lack of concern, apathy, uninterestedness, unconcern, languor, sluggishness, accidie, malaise, world-weariness
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Mid 16th century: probably a reduplication of hum.