6

murmur is one I'd use for a low voice talking crowd. I'm looking for more alternatives.

closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, Glorfindel, alwayslearning, Drew, BladorthinTheGrey Apr 27 '17 at 15:44

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  • Related question and helpful synonyms: english.stackexchange.com/questions/369046/… – rajah9 Apr 27 '17 at 11:37
  • 1
    Have you tried a thesaurus? – Mitch Apr 27 '17 at 13:29
  • nattering and grommishing (look up "The Trouble with Tribbles") – charles Apr 27 '17 at 15:16
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    @rajah9 thank you for the really good related link :). – Axonn Apr 27 '17 at 15:19
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    Thesaurus.com is a great starting place for this kind of question. I think you'll find almost all of the suggestions from answers in its entry on murmur, for example. (That's probably the reason for at least some of the close votes—a thesaurus is considered a "general reference".) – 1006a Apr 27 '17 at 15:22

11 Answers 11

11

hum

bustle, buzz

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hum?s=t

hubbub

a loud, confused noise, as of many voices

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hubbub?s=t

  • 2
    I think hubbub is the best. It specifically implies "a chaotic din caused by a crowd of people." (This definition is via the snippet at the top of the Google results page.) – Josh Friedlander Apr 27 '17 at 11:34
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    buzz itself works too. – Stephen S Apr 27 '17 at 13:46
14

I like din

: a loud continuous noise, especially of discordant sounds [Webster's]

I could barely hear the music over the din of the audience.

  • 1
    -1 din suggests a loud noise not a low voice/talking crowd. – Fraser Apr 27 '17 at 14:10
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    @Fraser -1 OP said that murmur is a word for the noise of a crowd when it isn't tumultuous. He was asking for more words for the noise of a crowd generally. Din is so perfect it was my reply, too; unfortunately Stu posted first. – lly Apr 27 '17 at 14:50
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    No the op is looking for alternatives to murmur - Din isn't 'perfect' as it suggests a loud, discordant noise and has nothing specifically to do with crowds – Fraser Apr 27 '17 at 14:54
  • OP's question and text match completely. He's looking for words for crowd noise. Murmur is one, but particularly a low-volume form. It's really not hard to understand, hence this being the most upvoted reply. – lly Apr 27 '17 at 16:12
  • People like coldplay and voted for the Nazis - it could have a billion upvotes and it wouldn't make it correct. – Fraser Apr 28 '17 at 8:58
3

I would go for babble, which can mean

a continuous low or confused sound, especially the sound of several people talking

(Cambridge dictionary)

  • +1 Imo, your answer would be a good place to mention "babel" along with "babble" as a curious example of nearly synonymous homonyms (babel's second pronunciation). – Papa Poule Apr 27 '17 at 14:27
3

Susurration is a nice choice, if there is a whispering quality to people's vocalizations. Groups of people around you can make many different sounds. It depends upon the specifics of what's happening and how people are feeling and acting. You've gotten lots of good suggestions for various types of sound.

The crowd susurrations were liquid in his screwed-up ears. Cory Doctorow, The Makers

see Fine Dictionary compendium of definitions, etymology and usage including:

n susurration speaking softly without vibration of the vocal cords

n susurration the indistinct sound of people whispering "a soft susurrus of conversation"

L. susurratio, fr. susurrare, to whisper: cf. F. susurration,
hypernyms :sound, speaking, speech production

2

I'd say murmur is right, maybe you could use mumble, but it has a different meaning in my oppinion.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • Mumble does have a different meaning. It is the act of making the sound, not the sound itself. – Chenmunka Apr 27 '17 at 11:58
2

Tumult

disorderly agitation or milling about of a crowd usually with uproar and confusion of voices

Source: Merriam-Webster

1

Rumor can also be used in this context:

a soft low indistinct sound; murmur

(source: Merriam-Webster)

1

My own preferred word is susurration

According to Dictionary.com it means:

a soft murmur; whisper.

  • I chose sussuration too. I had the answer box open for quite a while in between doing other things & didn't see your answer. I wasn't trying to poach. – user227547 Apr 27 '17 at 15:45
  • @Palizsche - no problem at all; these things happen :-) – Spratty Apr 27 '17 at 15:53
1

Three of my favorite words in the English language describe this:

hubbub - a busy, noisy situation caused by a crowd of people.

hullabaloo - a commotion; a fuss.

brouhaha - a noisy and overexcited reaction or response to something.

Out of them all hubbub is specifically a word that describes what you mean.

1

Well, personally, I like din since it's always appropriate if the noise of a crowd is unpleasantly loud enough to be noticed in the first place.

As far as things people haven't already mentioned, there's also

walla, rhubarb

The radio, film, TV, and game industry jargon for indistinct crowd noise.

rumble, rumbling

A low, heavy sound, continuous but varying; a murmur, grumble, or growl, esp. of discontent; noises of restlessness, or an early indication of tumult and uproar...

rabble

A meaningless, rambling or derogatory spiel; babble; a disorderly assembly of people, esp. of the lower classes...

chatter, chattering, chatteration

A rapid succession of short vocal sounds, as some bird calls; rapid, incessant, trivial speech; prattle...

natter

US chatter; Scots grumbling, nagging speech.

rattle

A rapid succession of short, sharp, percussive sounds; a state of uproar; lively and empty chatter, babble...

0

A perhaps less obvious, yet colourful choice would be 'dissonance'.

Dissonance
a mingling of sounds that strike the ear harshly
a mingling of discordant sounds; especially, music

Source: Merriam-Webster

  • That term describes the tonal qualities of the noise being created by the crowd. It's not really a name for the noise itself. – lly Apr 27 '17 at 14:52
  • No it doesn't. It's a "mingling of sounds". Each voice is a sound and they have mingled. – Michael Apr 27 '17 at 15:18
  • Dissonant would be a quality. – Michael Apr 27 '17 at 15:20

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