\ 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 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 With the opening shoegazing strums, Placebo taps into late summer anxieties by relating the changing of seasons to the inescapable crush of time. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Greatest Deep Cuts of 1998: Critics' Picks," 31 May 2018 But the Alteñas are an all-female mariachi group — and since their inception in 2002, their rhythmic guitarrón strums and proud trumpet blasts have bested many of their male counterparts at invitation-only competitions. Harper Smith, Allure, "The Beauty Secrets of Mariachi Las Alteñas, an All-Female Mariachi Band in the Heart of Texas," 13 Nov. 2018 The horizontal video uses the same footage as the vertical, in which Mendes strums and sings away as a pair of anonymous female hands get touchy-feely. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Shawn Mendes Drops Gorgeous 'Full Color' 'Nervous' Video: Watch," 11 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The windmill is a counterclockwise whirl of the strumming hand, which attacks the strings from the underside at high velocity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: The Who’s generation turned out at stadium 30 years ago," 23 Aug. 2019 Inside, your kids can dance in dinosaur and princess costumes and sing along with a hipster strumming songs about gratitude and love on a banjo. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Violence in Orange County," 10 Aug. 2019 Yola isn’t the only one taking part in this country revolution: Musicians such as Lil Nas X and Orville Peck are also breaking the country stereotype of mournful white guys strumming guitars. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Meet Yola, the Singer-Songwriter Giving Country a Soulful Spin," 4 Sep. 2019 One man strummed on a guitar, while others sipped on IPAs and chatted about their favorite shows. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Phish fans brave plague-related drama for Labor Day weekend shows," 30 Aug. 2019 This includes photos of the the bearer nonchalantly reading a newspaper or even strumming a guitar. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "An artist is turning boring passport photos into bizarre portraits," 27 Aug. 2019 Leonardo Antonio Aguilar, the son, sang on horseback and later strummed a guitar. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Pepe Aguilar's Jaripeo Sin Fronteras is a family affair in Houston," 19 Aug. 2019 Its eight separate animatronic tableaux include a railroad engine, the conductor warming muffins on the firebox; a farmer strumming a harp for his cows; and a beach where a man in Victorian bathing costume dives into the sea. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Air and Space Museum used to feature flying machines of the strangest sort," 27 July 2019 Shaun Theiring, 20, strummed his guitar during the luncheon, providing easy music to eat by. Glendale News-Press, "On the Town: Luncheon benefits Salvation Army’s Meals on Wheels program," 22 July 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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Statistics for strum

Time Traveler for strum

The first known use of strum was in 1764

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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

What made you want to look up strum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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