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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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for strummed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An instrument on which the keynote is strummed to accompany singing.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
  • One strummed a lute, and they were singing together in Latin.

  • One negro began chanting while the other strummed carelessly on the guitar.

    Three Soldiers John Dos Passos
  • I cannot have it strummed on and put out of tune by everybody.

    The Woman-Hater Charles Reade
  • He strummed softly, swaying to the rhythm of what he played.

    The Wave Algernon Blackwood
  • The unforgotten and ineffaceable past strummed the fibres of his throat.

    Jerry of the Islands Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for strummed


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 strummed



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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