from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Used to express doubt or uncertainty or to fill a pause when hesitating in speaking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of µm.
  • interj. Expression of confusion or space filler in conversation. See uh.
  • v. To make the um sound to express confusion or hesitancy.
  • prep. Alternative form of umbe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as om.
  • n. A prefix of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian origin, meaning ‘around, about,’ cognate with ambi- and amphi-. It was formerly common, but is now wholly obsolete, except in a few Scotch words.


From Middle English, from Old Norse um, umb ("around, about"), from Proto-Germanic *umbi (“around”), from Proto-Indo-European *ambʰi- (“by, around”). Cognate with Old English ymbe ("around"). More at umbe. (Wiktionary)
This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)
A Latin-script rendering of µm. (Wiktionary)



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  • "Faith, sir, I've-"

    "Faith? What's that?"

    "Why, faith, sir, it's only a sort of exclamation-like--that's all, sir."

    "Um, um; go on."

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 127

    July 31, 2008