\ ˈstrəm How to pronounce strum (audio) \

Definition of strum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an act, instance, or sound of strumming


strummed; strumming

Definition of strum (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to brush the fingers over the strings of (a musical instrument) in playing strum a guitar also : thrum entry 1 sense 1
b : to play (music) on a stringed instrument strum a tune
2 : to cause to sound vibrantly winds strummed the rigging— H. A. Chippendale

intransitive verb

1 : to strum a stringed instrument
2 : to sound vibrantly

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Other Words from strum


strummer noun

Examples of strum in a Sentence

Verb He strummed a tune on the guitar.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun You are invited to bring your ukulele to sing, strum and have a good time. cleveland, "Jewish Federation chooses new, young leaders: Press Run," 10 Jan. 2020 Musician Nick Lutsko tweeted that the notes felt like an emo song, and so, over the strum of a guitar, the words of the president were re-imagined as a song that could've been sung by bands like Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance. NBC News, "Photo of Trump's notes becomes meme as Twitter users turn them into song lyrics," 21 Nov. 2019 The violin strums reach a crescendo as viewers see Bullock himself appear on screen. NBC News, "As the debate qualification deadline draws near, Bullock and Castro invest in Iowa TV ads," 6 Nov. 2019 At lunch, students ate quickly, then drifted off to strum guitars on their own, chat with instructors or — popularly — jam with each other onstage. Elizabeth Nonemaker,, "Guitar maker Paul Reed Smith brings all-star lineup of musicians to help teach a class in Annapolis," 28 Aug. 2019 One set, two career phases: Alternating moody synth textures with guitar strum, Sharon Van Etten played a kind of before-and- after set that split her career in two after returning from a five-year break. Kevin Williams,, "Lollapalooza 2019: Things we loved from day 4, but Ariana Grande was a pop star on autopilot," 4 Aug. 2019 As Eilish's voice soared over Finneas' elegant guitar strums, the bed levitated over the stage in front of a starry backdrop. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Billie Eilish nothing short of mind blowing at Milwaukee's Summerfest, the biggest show of her career," 6 July 2019 Blending raspy vocals with a chorus of banjo strums and piano riffs, CAAMP creates a sound like none other. Sarah Cook,, "Birmingham magazine’s culture picks for June," 28 June 2019 Along with her longtime collaborator Ben Chisolm — the band is called Chelsea Wolfe too — the artist in the song’s opening minute sets her sturdy, menacing voice within softened acoustic guitar strums. Randall Roberts,, "California Sounds: New music from Amon Tobin, Chelsea Wolfe and Salaam Remi & Terrace Martin," 19 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the musicians strum, pick, beat, clap, and sing, her heels break into staccato rhythmic patterns. Jennifer Homans, The New Yorker, "Noche Flamenca Gets Deeper with Age," 30 Dec. 2019 When Gabe Kalscheur was feeling it in the NCAA Tournament last March, the Gophers guard strummed an air guitar on the court after hitting a shot during his 24-point outing in a first-round victory over Louisville. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "When Gabe Kalscheur rocks out, he makes sweet music for Gophers men’s basketball," 27 Dec. 2019 As images of young Swift and her little brother, Austin, flash across the screen, a bright, festive tune blares – string instruments strumming and jingle bells chiming. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Taylor Swift drops new song and video about her growing up on a Christmas tree farm," 6 Dec. 2019 Vile’s songs sound, on the one hand, like the work of someone who’s radically imperturbable, and deeply chill in temperament, like a guy gently strumming his guitar and taking it all in. John Adamian,, "Kurt Vile and the Violators playing College Street," 19 July 2019 Lang has built musicians strumming guitars, a hummingbird drinking from a flower, a fish with 400 scales, and a female praying mantis devouring her mate. Wired, "An Origami Artist Shows How to Fold Ultra-Realistic Creatures," 20 Nov. 2019 Sheeran added his own flavor by strumming the acoustic guitar to the song and surprised the crowd by flawlessly singing the lyrics in Japanese. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "Ed Sheeran Surprises Fans at Japanese Band ONE OK ROCK's Tokyo Show," 7 Nov. 2019 As the title suggests, pizzicato plucking and outright strumming of the strings plays a large role in the work. cleveland, "CityMusic Cleveland flourishes on first program with new director Amit Peled," 21 Oct. 2019 The setting came alive as Jay moved among them twirling, pulling, and strumming the houses into an ensemble piece that collaborated with the birdsong, wind, river sounds, and freight train whistles outside. Timothy O'grady, Condé Nast Traveler, "In New Orleans, Life Is at Full Blast," 14 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'strum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of strum


1764, in the meaning defined above


1777, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for strum



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Time Traveler for strum

Time Traveler

The first known use of strum was in 1764

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Statistics for strum

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Strum.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for strum



English Language Learners Definition of strum

: to play (a guitar or similar instrument) by moving your fingers across the strings
: to play (music) on a guitar, banjo, etc., by moving your fingers over the strings


\ ˈstrəm How to pronounce strum (audio) \
strummed; strumming

Kids Definition of strum

: to play on a stringed instrument by brushing the strings with the fingers strum a guitar

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More from Merriam-Webster on strum

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with strum

Spanish Central: Translation of strum

Nglish: Translation of strum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of strum for Arabic Speakers

Comments on strum

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to insert between existing elements

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