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See more synonyms for strum on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), strummed, strum·ming.
  1. to play on (a stringed musical instrument) by running the fingers lightly across the strings.
  2. to produce (notes, a melody, etc.) by such playing: to strum a tune.
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verb (used without object), strummed, strum·ming.
  1. to play on a stringed musical instrument by running the fingers lightly across the strings.
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  1. the act of strumming.
  2. the sound produced by strumming.
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Origin of strum1

1765–75; perhaps blend of string and thrum1
Related formsstrum·mer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

British Dictionary definitions for strummed


verb strums, strumming or strummed
  1. to sound (the strings of a guitar, banjo, etc) with a downward or upward sweep of the thumb or of a plectrum
  2. to play (chords, a tune, etc) in this way
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Derived Formsstrummer, noun

Word Origin

C18: probably of imitative origin; see thrum 1
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 strummed



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper