verb (used without object)

  1. to make or emit a sharp sound like that of the letter s prolonged, as a snake does, or as steam does when forced under pressure through a small opening.
  2. to express disapproval or contempt by making this sound: The audience hissed when the actor forgot his lines.

verb (used with object)

  1. to express disapproval of by hissing: The audience hissed the controversial play.
  2. to silence or drive away by hissing (usually followed by away, down, etc.): They hissed down the author when he tried to speak.
  3. to utter with a hiss.


  1. a hissing sound, especially one made in disapproval.


  1. a voiceless fricative sound like that of a prolonged s
  2. such a sound uttered as an exclamation of derision, contempt, etc, esp by an audience or crowd
  3. electronics receiver noise with a continuous spectrum, caused by thermal agitation, shot noise, etc


  1. an exclamation of derision or disapproval


  1. (intr) to produce or utter a hiss
  2. (tr) to express with a hiss, usually to indicate derision or anger
  3. (tr) to show derision or anger towards (a speaker, performer, etc) by hissing


  1. Alger. 1904–96, US government official: imprisoned (1950–54) for perjury in connection with alleged espionage activities

late 14c., of imitative origin. Johnson wrote, “it is remarkable, that this word cannot be pronounced without making the noise which it signifies.” Related: Hissed; hissing.


1510s, from hiss (v.).

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