Definition of murmur in English:



  • 1A soft, indistinct sound made by a person or group of people speaking quietly or at a distance.

    ‘his voice was little more than a murmur’
    • ‘The soft murmurs of everyone having afternoon tea filled the lobby.’
    • ‘There was a soft murmur in the distance - a distant chatter of nurses and peeved senior citizens.’
    • ‘A riffling noise joins the murmur of a few voices under the high ceiling.’
    • ‘I pushed open the front door, and immediately heard the soft, worried murmur of voices from the den.’
    • ‘She remembered the feeling of the rough-hewn walls against her fingertips and the soft murmur of voices that sounded like the stone was speaking to her, but no directions.’
    • ‘A faint light could be seen from the outside, and soft murmurs indicated that a meeting was taking place.’
    • ‘‘I apologize,’ their voices faded to a soft murmur as they moved away.’
    • ‘I laid in my bed for some time after, listening to the soft murmur of people talking downstairs.’
    • ‘Sarah woke up to the low murmur of people speaking.’
    • ‘A soft murmur went through the crowd, but he silenced them again with a raise of his arm.’
    • ‘Quiet at first, they might have been mistaken for the sound of the wind in the neighbouring trees, but these voices never subsided, never ceased, their murmur became clamour.’
    1. 1.1A softly spoken or almost inaudible utterance.
      ‘she accepted his offer with a quiet murmur of thanks’
      • ‘He asked quietly in almost a murmur, shifting only slightly in his seat so as not to disturb his precious burden.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘There was a general murmur of thanks and hope-she-gets-betters, and then, one by one, they all left the hall in hushed excitement.’
      • ‘He continues to explain himself in a murmur as the whole bank listens in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because as soon as you step in, you become aware of a huge sea of noise stretching away before you: whispers, murmurs, bangs, shouts, swearing, poems, confessions, exhortations.’
      • ‘Receiving only an inaudible murmur in response, he returned his attention to the occupied seats across the room.’
      • ‘There were thousands of murmurs, all whispering: ‘What did he just say?’’
      • ‘He has always answered questions slowly at a voice level hardly above a murmur and it is no different today.’
    2. 1.2The quiet or subdued expression of a particular feeling by a group of people.
      ‘there was a murmur of approval from the crowd’
      • ‘There was a general murmur of approval and excitement.’
      • ‘Though there are murmurs of general approval, the crowd seems skeptical about its ability to implement such suggestions.’
      • ‘There were soft murmurs of good luck and the class began.’
      • ‘The response from MPs consisted of sympathetic murmurs and mumbled hear-hears.’
      • ‘A soft murmur of agreement swept through the rest of them, and they were now facing the General with determination in their eyes.’
      • ‘Now there's barely the slightest murmur of dissent.’
      • ‘There were murmurs of approval from the men and women of the council.’
      • ‘After that psychological barrier was passed, the remaining scrambles and squeezes were negotiated with relative ease, and any mutinous murmurs were thankfully subdued.’
      • ‘A murmur of disbelief spread through the room, but quieted when she spoke again.’
      • ‘The air, the quiet murmur of happy kids, it all helped.’
      • ‘Wayward-looking tee shots were greeted with expectant murmurs of approval which turned into disappointed applause if the ball ended up on the green.’
      • ‘But even at this period there were murmurs of dissent: Dr Johnson complained that Milton used ‘English words with a foreign idiom’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The others murmur what could be approval or embarrassment, nurse their bourbons, and glumly fall back into silence.’
      • ‘When the change was announced in 1993 there was not a murmur of dissent.’
      • ‘There are also murmurs of dissent inside the house.’
      • ‘Nary a murmur of dissent was voiced amongst the remarkably relaxed muso crowd.’
      • ‘A murmur of thanks and respect rippled through the room.’
      • ‘The young woman's attack raises a murmur of approval from the other women in the room.’
      • ‘There were approving murmurs from people close by and at the conclusion, sustained but restrained applause.’
      • ‘A warm murmur of approval rippled across the room.’
      • ‘Loud gasps and quiet, anxious murmurs ripple through the lunch crowd.’
      whisper, undertone, mutter, mumble
      complaint, grumble, moan, grouse
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A rumor.
      ‘he had heard hints only, murmurs’
      • ‘There are murmurs of fresh demonstrations in the town.’
      • ‘There are murmurs amongst aficionados of his edgy, Gothic parables of Americana that he has gone over to The Other Side and become mainstream.’
      • ‘There were murmurs of the deaths being part of some ritualistic killing.’
      • ‘There are murmurs that the incident was politically motivated.’
      • ‘There are murmurs that although he may have been a victim, he wasn't an innocent victim.’
      • ‘A key theme of his latest work is the spread of murmurs of apocalyptic marvels and of ambivalent savior-cum-charlatan figures on the horizon.’
    4. 1.4A low continuous sound.
      ‘the murmur of bees in the rhododendrons’
      • ‘The noises of the performance were now a distant murmur, but other than that it was completely silent.’
      • ‘Synths and strings melt together for a lush background murmur, behind the lean, precise jazz-pop song structures, all wrapped in thick, warm production.’
      • ‘The pin-drop silence at the start gradually melted into a gentle background murmur, full of the sound of papers rustling, friends whispering and restless feet shuffling.’
      • ‘The only sound was the soft murmur of the computers, the steady tick of the clock, and the somewhat less steady tapping of Pierson rhythmically belting his chair with his fingers.’
      • ‘If you're looking for a glamorous night out, bathed in the glow of candlelight with the unassuming murmur of trip hop in the background, than you've come to the wrong place.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cath watched long enough that the sounds in the cafeteria became a distant murmur, a sort of background noise to her thoughts.’
      • ‘Flags flap briskly in a stiffening wind, providing the only sounds beyond the clicking of cameras and the distant murmur of cars making their slow, careful way to the site.’
      hum, humming, buzz, buzzing, whir, thrum, thrumming, drone, sigh
      burble, babble, purl, gurgle
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Medicine A recurring sound heard in the heart through a stethoscope that is usually a sign of disease or damage.
      • ‘Careful examination of the heart may reveal murmurs, extra sounds, or cardiac enlargement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cardiac and lung examinations were normal with normal heart sounds and no murmurs.’
      • ‘A murmur is heard through a stethoscope as the heart beats.’
    6. 1.6informal A condition in which the heart produces or is apt to produce a recurring sound indicative of disease or damage.
      ‘she had been born with a heart murmur’
      • ‘Her past medical history was unremarkable, except for a heart murmur.’
      • ‘He was starving and suffering from a broken leg and heart murmur.’
      • ‘It can be present at birth or develop later in life. A heart murmur is not a disease.’
      • ‘Symptoms include fever, swollen joints, chest pains or other signs of heart problems, including heart murmurs and congestive heart failure.’
      • ‘A referral to the cardiologist has shown that his heart murmur was not due to any structural abnormality as an echocardiogram was normal.’


  • 1[reporting verb] Say something in a low, soft, or indistinct voice.

    [with object] ‘Nina murmured an excuse and hurried away’
    [with direct speech] ‘“How interesting,” he murmured quietly’
    • ‘He groaned, and almost dreamily began to murmur to himself, ‘You'll show her.’’
    • ‘‘It's alright ’, she murmured, her voice strained and hollow, even to her.’
    • ‘The other woman, her voice lower, murmured some words of consolation to her friend.’
    • ‘‘We'll chuck your things in my room,’ Alex murmured as he began walking up the stairs to the second floor.’
    • ‘‘And here is where the real war begins,’ she murmured, opening the drawer of her desk.’
    • ‘He murmured something softly, but I had already left the room.’
    • ‘He kisses me softly on the forehead and murmurs; ‘Let's go.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My cousin's wife sat in the corner, a daughter on either side, her arms around their shoulders, murmuring prayers softly.’
    • ‘She buried her face into the curve of my neck and hugged me tightly, her soft voice murmuring that everything would be okay.’
    • ‘‘I still haven't had the pleasure of knowing your name,’ she murmured in a husky voice.’
    • ‘She paces the room with her baby close to her chest, murmuring quietly against her ear to pacify her.’
    • ‘The voice murmured something and the door to their right opened.’
    • ‘His face turned bright red as he began to murmur an answer while staring at her sheet.’
    1. 1.1[no object]Make a low continuous sound.
      ‘the wind was murmuring through the trees’
      • ‘The audience was murmuring, but Gwion continued with his speech.’
      • ‘The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander n abysses of solitude.’
      • ‘If you listen long enough, you could swear you hear the trees talking, murmuring to themselves as they stand stoically in the teeth of the storm.’
      • ‘The air was luminous; a faint south wind murmured in the pine tops.’
      • ‘The sea is remarkably beautiful, turquoise blue and fawn at times, it rages, murmurs, sighs and sings.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Say something cautiously and discreetly.
      [no object] ‘they began to murmur of an uprising’
      • ‘Students began murmuring again, debating the relationship between the two.’
      • ‘Many in the crowd began to murmur their dissent at this.’
      • ‘Over time, the agreeable questioning seemed to stimulate unrest in the audience, which began to murmur its displeasure.’
      • ‘The audience began to murmur as the election story unfolded on the screen.’
      • ‘As soon as the carriage left the inn yard, she had begun murmuring about the speed of the trip.’
    3. 1.3archaic [no object]Express one's discontent about (someone or something) in a subdued manner.
      • ‘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?’’
      complain, moan, mutter, grumble, grouse, carp, whine, bleat
      View synonyms


  • without a murmur

    • Without complaining.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Without mum to say they won't eat potatoes they will probably do what you suggest without a murmur.’
      • ‘She was punctual and would work overtime without a murmur.’
      • ‘Marjorie seems to accept the new arrangement without a murmur.’
      • ‘And in both airports, the Swiss army knife on my keychain in my purse went through without a murmur.’
      • ‘I was now ready to bear whatever might ensue without a murmur.’
      • ‘When Antoninus died on 7 March 161, Marcus Aurelius succeeded without a murmur from either the army or the Senate.’
      • ‘The teacher was Ok, though, and she accepted my excuse of being lost without a murmur.’
      • ‘This deal would have gone through without a murmur if we hadn't fought back.’


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