- to play on a stringed instrument, as a guitar, by plucking the strings, especially in an idle, monotonous, or unskillful manner; strum.
- to sound when thrummed on, as a guitar or similar stringed instrument.
- to drum or tap idly with the fingers.
- to play (a stringed instrument, or a melody on it) by plucking the strings, especially in an idle, monotonous, or unskillful manner; strum.
- to drum or tap idly on.
- to recite or tell in a monotonous way.
- an act or sound of thrumming; dull, monotonous sound.
Origin of thrum1
First recorded in 1545–55; imitative
- 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.
- thrums, the row or fringe of such threads.
- any short piece of waste thread or yarn; tuft, tassel, or fringe of threads, as at the edge of a piece of cloth.
- Often thrums. Nautical. short bits of rope yarn used for making mats.
- 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.
- 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 thrum
She heard the thrum of the string, and then a piercing scream.The Saracen: The Holy War
They had not heard the thrum of the motors on the roadway outside.The Ghost Breaker
The man on the table who held the guitar began to thrum on the instrument.Poor Folk in Spain
Perhaps he has returned from another world to thrum a harp, or it may be only a banjo.Green Eyes
Roy J. Snell
I knelt on the deck and listened to the thrum of the diesel engines.Little Brother
- to strum rhythmically but without expression on (a musical instrument)
- (intr) to drum incessantlyrain thrummed on the roof
- to repeat (something) monotonously
- a repetitive strumming or recitation
C16: of imitative origin
- any of the unwoven ends of warp thread remaining on the loom when the web has been removed
- such ends of thread collectively
- a fringe or tassel of short unwoven threads
- (tr) to trim with thrums
C14: from Old English; related to Old High German drum remnant, Dutch dreum
Word Origin and History for thrum
"play a stringed instrument," 1590s, from the noun (1550s), of imitative origin. Related: Thrummed; thrumming.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper