ket·​tle·​drum ˈke-təl-ˌdrəm How to pronounce kettledrum (audio)
: a percussion instrument that consists of a hollow brass, copper, or fiberglass hemisphere with a calfskin or plastic head whose tension can be changed to vary the pitch

Illustration of kettledrum

Illustration of kettledrum

Examples of kettledrum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The tape-staticky gourd rattle and kettledrum boom. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2018 The women hammered kettledrums and struck a gong suspended from a pagoda. Julie Lasky, New York Times, 4 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kettledrum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1602, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kettledrum was in 1602

Dictionary Entries Near kettledrum

Cite this Entry

“Kettledrum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ket·​tle·​drum -ˌdrəm How to pronounce kettledrum (audio)
: a large brass or copper drum that has a rounded bottom and can be varied in pitch

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