Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

um and ah - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [intransitive] mainly spoken     um and ah pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyum and ah
he/she/itums and ahs
present participleumming and ahing
past tenseummed and ahed
past participleummed and ahed
  1. to be unable to decide what to do in a situation

    Stop umming and ahing and just get on with it.

derived word

umming and ahing

noun [uncountable]

After some umming and ahing, we decided to move in together.


deep learning

a form of machine learning which incorporates the use of neural networks

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play