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[struhm] /strʌm/
verb (used with object), strummed, strumming.
to play on (a stringed musical instrument) by running the fingers lightly across the strings.
to produce (notes, a melody, etc.) by such playing:
to strum a tune.
verb (used without object), strummed, strumming.
to play on a stringed musical instrument by running the fingers lightly across the strings.
the act of strumming.
the sound produced by strumming.
Origin of strum1
1765-75; perhaps blend of string and thrum1
Related forms
strummer, noun


[struhm] /strʌm/
a strainer, as at the inlet of a system of tubing.
origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for strum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Being able to strum on the mandoline settled it for me, and jolly thankful I was, too.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • She is ingenious, She used to strum ballads to the moon on my adolescent nerves.

    Very Woman

    Remy de Gourmont
  • I'm made to strum on the piano for an hour every day, but I hate it.

  • He shifted his stool towards the middle of the piano and began to strum again.

    The Wave Algernon Blackwood
  • It had not the harps of the trees to strum on, but it made shift with the corners of the houses.

    H. R. Edwin Lefevre
  • I have all the more right to talk of music because I do not strum on the piano as you do.

    Froth Armando Palacio Valds
  • Almost every working-man has his girls taught to strum the piano.

    Town Life in Australia R. E. N. (Richard) Twopeny
  • So persuaded was the poor fellow of this, that he did nothing all night but jangle and strum away.

    The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
British Dictionary definitions for strum


verb strums, strumming, strummed
to sound (the strings of a guitar, banjo, etc) with a downward or upward sweep of the thumb or of a plectrum
to play (chords, a tune, etc) in this way
Derived Forms
strummer, noun
Word Origin
C18: probably of imitative origin; see thrum1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for strum

1775, possibly imitative of the sound of running the fingers across the strings of a musical instrument. Related: Strummed; strumming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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