From Middle English murmur, murmor, murmour, from Old French murmure (modern French murmure), from Latin murmur (“murmur, humming, muttering, roaring, growling, rushing etc.”), from Proto-Indo-European *mormur-, *mur- (“to mutter”). Reduplication points to imitative, onomatopoeic origin. Cognate with Sanskrit मर्मर (marmara, “rustling sound, murmur”), Ancient Greek μορμύρω (mormúrō, “to roar, boil”), Lithuanian mùrmėti (“to mutter, murmur, babble”), Old High German murmurōn, murmulōn (“to mumble, murmur”), Old Norse murra (“to grumble, mumble”).
murmur (plural murmurs)
- (countable) Low or indistinct sounds or speech.
- 1874, Marcus Clarke, For the Term of His Natural Life, chapter V:
- In the prison of the 'tween decks reigned a darkness pregnant with murmurs. The sentry at the entrance to the hatchway was supposed to "prevent the prisoners from making a noise," but he put a very liberal interpretation upon the clause, and so long as the prisoners refrained from shouting, yelling, and fighting--eccentricities in which they sometimes indulged--he did not disturb them.
- A murmur arose from the audience.
- 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XI:
- The moment had come for the honeyed word. I lowered my voice to a confidential murmur, but on her inquiring if I had laryngitis raised it again.
- (medicine) The sound made by any condition which produces noisy, or turbulent, flow of blood through the heart.
- A muttered complaint or protest; the expression of dissatisfaction in a low muttering voice; any expression of complaint or discontent
- 1919, Boris Sidis, The Source and Aim of Human Progress:
- In fear of disease and in the interest of his health man will be muzzled and masked like a vicious dog, and that without any murmur of complaint.
- 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XX:
- Glossop will return from his afternoon off to find the awful majesty of the Law waiting for him, complete with handcuffs. We can hardly expect him to accept an exemplary sentence without a murmur, so his first move will be to establish his innocence by revealing all.
sound by turbulent flow of blood etc.
muttered complaint or protest
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murmur (third-person singular simple present murmurs, present participle murmuring, simple past and past participle murmured)
- (intransitive, now rare) To grumble; to complain in a low, muttering voice, or express discontent at or against someone or something. [from 14th c.]
- 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, John VI:
- The iewes murmured att itt, because he sayde: I am thatt breed which is come doune from heven.
- (intransitive) To speak or make low, indistinguishable noise; to mumble, mutter. [from 14th c.]
- I couldn't hear the words; he just murmured a lot.
- (transitive) To say (something) indistinctly, to mutter. [from 15th c.]
- I...heard thee murmur tales of iron wars. (Shakespeare, 1 Hen. IV., II. 3.51)
Derived terms 
to speak or make low, indistinguishable noise; to mumble
External links 
- murmur in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- “murmur” in OED Online, Oxford University Press, 1989.
murmur (genitive murmuris); n, third declension
- murmur, murmuring
- humming, roaring, growling, grumbling
- rushing, crashing