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um and ah British English

Meaning: If you "um and ah" you're having trouble deciding what to say, or you're having trouble telling somebody something.

For example:

  • Stop umming and ahing and just tell me what happened!

  • James ummed and ahed for a while, but he eventually agreed to help us get the deal.

Variety: This idiom is typically used in British English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

Sharon always ums and ahs when she
  1. has a sore throat
  2. feels really good
  3. can't make up her mind

Discuss: um and ah

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