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verb (used without object), thrummed, thrum·ming.
  1. to play on a stringed instrument, as a guitar, by plucking the strings, especially in an idle, monotonous, or unskillful manner; strum.
  2. to sound when thrummed on, as a guitar or similar stringed instrument.
  3. to drum or tap idly with the fingers.
verb (used with object), thrummed, thrum·ming.
  1. to play (a stringed instrument, or a melody on it) by plucking the strings, especially in an idle, monotonous, or unskillful manner; strum.
  2. to drum or tap idly on.
  3. to recite or tell in a monotonous way.
  1. an act or sound of thrumming; dull, monotonous sound.

Origin of thrum1

First recorded in 1545–55; imitative
Related formsthrum·mer, noun


  1. one of the ends of the warp threads in a loom, left unwoven and remaining attached to the loom when the web is cut off.
  2. thrums, the row or fringe of such threads.
  3. any short piece of waste thread or yarn; tuft, tassel, or fringe of threads, as at the edge of a piece of cloth.
  4. Often thrums. Nautical. short bits of rope yarn used for making mats.
verb (used with object), thrummed, thrum·ming.
  1. Nautical. to insert short pieces of rope yarn through (canvas) and thus give it a rough surface, as for wrapping about a part to prevent chafing.
  2. to furnish or cover with thrums, ends of thread, or tufts.

Origin of thrum2

before 1000; Middle English throm end-piece, Old English -thrum, in tungethrum ligament of the tongue, cognate with Old High German drum end-piece; akin to Old Norse thrǫmr brim, edge, Latin terminus, Greek térma end
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thrumming

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was a thrumming all about him, and he heard a low keening of wind.


    Poul William Anderson

  • Mr. Coxon had wandered to the window again, and was thrumming on the panes.

    Half a Hero

    Anthony Hope

  • "Here goes, then," said Mr. Mizzen, thrumming on the guitar.

  • There was a sudden, deeper note in the thrumming roar of the great ship.

    The Ultimate Weapon

    John Wood Campbell

  • Well, if it helped her, let her keep it thrumming on all night!

British Dictionary definitions for thrumming


verb thrums, thrumming or thrummed
  1. to strum rhythmically but without expression on (a musical instrument)
  2. (intr) to drum incessantlyrain thrummed on the roof
  3. to repeat (something) monotonously
  1. a repetitive strumming or recitation
Derived Formsthrummer, noun

Word Origin

C16: of imitative origin


    1. any of the unwoven ends of warp thread remaining on the loom when the web has been removed
    2. such ends of thread collectively
  1. a fringe or tassel of short unwoven threads
verb thrums, thrumming or thrummed
  1. (tr) to trim with thrums

Word Origin

C14: from Old English; related to Old High German drum remnant, Dutch dreum
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

Word Origin and History for thrumming



"play a stringed instrument," 1590s, from the noun (1550s), of imitative origin. Related: Thrummed; thrumming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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