[plek-truh m]
noun, plural plec·tra [plek-truh] /ˈplɛk trə/, plec·trums.
  1. a small piece of plastic, metal, ivory, etc., for plucking the strings of a guitar, lyre, mandolin, etc.
  2. Anatomy, Zoology. an anatomical part resembling a plectrum in shape.

Origin of plectrum

1620–30; < Latin plēctrum < Greek plêktron Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plectra

Historical Examples of plectra

British Dictionary definitions for plectra


noun plural -trums or -tra (-trə)
  1. any implement for plucking a string, such as a small piece of plastic, wood, etc, used to strum a guitar, or the quill that plucks the string of a harpsichord

Word Origin for plectrum

C17: from Latin plēctrum quill, plectrum, from Greek plektron, from plessein to strike
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 plectra



something used to pluck the strings of a musical instrument, 1620s, from Latin plectrum, from Greek plektron "thing to strike with" (pick for a lyre, cock's spur, spear point, etc.), from plek-, root of plessein "to strike" (see plague (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper