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mum - What does it mean?

Definition of 'mum'


Alternative forms

* mam * mom, Mom (US) * Mum

Etymology 1

Alternative form of mam, or an abbreviation of mummy. Compare mom, mama.


  • (UK|Australia|Canada|New England|informal) Mother.
  • * 1993 , Hilda Hollingsworth, Places of Greater Safety , Zenobia Press edition, page 278,
  • 'Ooh Mum', Auntie don?t allow smokin’ - Pat?s eyes were round with awe as ' Mum struck a match.
  • * 2004 , Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen, Irene Dunlap, Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul 2 , page 336,
  • Her mum says that she is deaf and only partially sighted, so I need to go and stand in front of her, so she can see the gift.
  • * 2006 , , page 88,
  • Mum'! '''Mum'''!” he shouted out. The laughter stopped. Two bright, sparkling yellow eyes peeped from the hollow. Atop her head were the fluffy ear tufts that his '''mum''' was so proud of because they were fuller and lovelier than those of most Great Horned Owls. It was indeed his ' mum !
  • * 2011 , Chyna, FAM: Rolling in a London Girl Gang , unnumbered page,
  • He?s looking at my mum , at her swollen eyes, busted nose and bloodied lips. She?s mashed up something chronic, and the man who did this to her is my dad.
  • (dated) A term of respect for an older woman.
  • * 1840 , , Volume 1, 1851, page 130,
  • “Wy, mum',” said Mr. Weller, “I don?t think you?ll see a many sich, and that?s the truth. But if my son Samivel vould give me my vay, '''mum , and dis-pense with his—''might I wenter to say the vurd?”
    “What word Mr Weller?” said the housekeeper, blushing slightly.
    “Petticuts, mum ,” returned that gentleman, laying his had upon the garments of his grandson. “If my son Samivel vould only dis-pense vith these here, you?d see sich a alteration in his appearance, as the imagination can?t depicter!”
  • * 1885 , , 2011, unnumbered page,
  • Then she took off the hank and looked me straight in the face, and very pleasant, and says:
    “Come, now, what?s your real name?
    “Wh -- what, mum ?”
    “What?s your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob? -- Or what is it?”
    Usage notes
    Mum is only capitalized when used as a proper noun: * I don't think Mum will like you. * I don't think my mum will like you. *In New England, the word may still be spelt "mom", but it will have the pronunciation of "mum."
    * See also

    Etymology 2

    Abbreviation of chrysanthemum.


  • A chrysanthemum.
  • Etymology 3

    From (etyl) mum or .


  • (colloquial) silent.
  • * Shakespeare
  • The citizens are mum , and speak not a word.
  • (colloquial) secret.
  • Derived terms
    * keep mum * mum's the word


  • stop speaking! hush!
  • * Shakespeare
  • Mum , then, and no more.


  • to act in a pantomime or dumb show
  • Noun

  • (obsolete) silence
  • (Hudibras)

    Etymology 4

    (etyl) Mummere, named after Christian Mumme, who first brewed it in 1492.


  • A sort of strong beer, originally made in Brunswick, Germany.
  • (Addison)
    The clamorous crowd is hushed with mugs of mum . — Alexander Pope.


    * * English palindromes ----

    Similar to 'mum'

    mem, mom, maim, mhm, mam, meum, meem, mmhm, maum, mhmm