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Possible reduplication of hum, 1550s.



humdrum (comparative more humdrum, superlative most humdrum)

  1. Lacking variety or excitement; dull; boring.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:boring
    • 1952, Daphne Du Maurier, “Monte Verità”, in The Apple Tree:
      In the valley there would have been feasting and celebration, and then dancing at the wedding, and afterwards the turmoil of a brief romance turning to humdrum married life, the cares of her house, the cares of children, anxiety, fret, illness, trouble, the day-by-day routine of growing old.
    • 1999, Lucy Honig, The Truly Needy And Other Stories, University of Pittsburgh Press (→ISBN), page 89:
      He suggested cusk, because he knew they would have it. She had never heard of cusk. “Doesn't it sound exotic!” she said. “Exotic indeed!” he laughed, and almost told her what a humdrum fish it really was, but stopped himself.
    • 2017 November 10, Daniel Taylor, “Youthful England earn draw with Germany but Lingard rues late miss”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      With that kind of line-up it was probably inevitable that there would be a few spells when England looked what they were: a team that was trying to find some rhythm, unbeaten for eight years in humdrum qualifying groups but still not entirely sure about whether that makes them any good.



humdrum (countable and uncountable, plural humdrums)

  1. (uncountable) The quality of lacking variety or excitement.
    Synonyms: dullness, monotony
  2. (countable, dated) A stupid fellow.
    • 1834, Elizabeth Frances Dagley, The Young Seer, Or Early Searches Into Futurity (page 103)
      So, after settling it that Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were complete country humdrums, the daughters hoydens, the sons awkward half-dandies, and the company altogether any thing but agreeable, she came to a conclusion she had done fifty times before, that the country was not like London.