hum and haw


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

hum and haw

To speak in an evasive, vague, roundabout way in order to avoid responding to a question or making a definite statement. The phrase comes from the common filler words often used by habit or when one is deciding what to say. Primarily heard in UK. How much longer do we have to hear this guy hum and haw? I wish they would get on with the debate.
See also: and, haw, hum

hum and haw (or ha)

hesitate; be indecisive. British
The word hum has been used as an inarticulate syllable in hesitant speech since Chaucer; ha appears in a similar role from the early 17th century.
See also: and, haw, hum
References in periodicals archive ?
Losing a job, contracting a serious illness or splitting up with a partner - all these are excuses to send fairweather friends scurrying for cover as they hum and haw about whether they still want to know you.
But when I suggested buying one together, he started to hum and haw about it.
There's a nice irony in that, as the do-gooders and politically correct minority hum and haw about whether or not the Lockerbie disaster is suitable content for a play.