\ 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


He strummed a tune on the guitar.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 For a little bit of folk salvation, turn to Bon Iver, whose evocative strums and lilting voice speak straight to the soul. Raisa Bruner, Time, "These Are the Best Songs to Help You Get Over a Breakup," 30 May 2018 Six-string strums, including from a Kurt Cobain sample, figure in other songs, too. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Lives in Kanye West’s ‘Ghost Town’," 14 June 2018 All that's missing here is a quick strum of his air guitar. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "Of course Lance Stephenson pulled off a hidden ball trick in a celebrity softball game," 7 June 2018 Musicians can jam and learn from one another during strum-alongs, classes, and open mike opportunities during this festival hosted by the Ukulele Union of Boston and the town’s Cutler Elementary School. Kathy Shiels Tully,, "Spinning a classic tale at Reading High," 20 Apr. 2018 Or maybe a guitar strum or even the fluid sound of a clarinet. Nick Hoppe, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lovely sounds in the middle of the night," 6 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Locals fill a community’s streets with music On 2007, a sunny spring day in Ithaca lured Lesley Greene and her husband, Robbert, to strum their ukuleles on their front porch. Melody Warnick, Woman's Day, "These Small-Town Heroes Are Helping Their Communities Thrive," 2 Apr. 2019 Set to a minimalist soundtrack of guitar strumming and engine rumbling, the video treats us to a view of the Salt Lake City skyline at sunset before moving on to pleasing closeups of bubbles foaming up as the coffee is filtered through the machine. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "This tilting kettle will make your coffee-loving friends livid," 20 Aug. 2018 There's a pig at the front of the float playing a saxophone, a rabbit playing an upright bass and a dog strumming on a banjo. Anthony Clark Carpio,, "Volunteers hard at work with design of Burbank Rose Parade float," 23 May 2018 Still, the novelty look of a carbon fiber body suggests that strumming a G might produce a tinny, plasticky sound. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A Carbon Fiber Mini-Guitar Actually Sounds Kind of Great," 12 Aug. 2016 An hour later, the Alteñas are gathered in the foyer of a quinceañera venue, tuning instruments and strumming strings. Harper Smith, Allure, "The Beauty Secrets of Mariachi Las Alteñas, an All-Female Mariachi Band in the Heart of Texas," 13 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, his left hand played the lower keys as if strumming a rhythm guitar. WSJ, "‘Nightconcert’ by Erroll Garner Review: A Little Midnight Music," 14 Aug. 2018 The problem was: No sound was coming from the guitar, no matter how hard and passionately Camila strummed. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Camila Cabello is Getting Slammed for Weird Air Guitar Performance on "Ellen"," 23 Mar. 2018 Banda musicians strum their instruments as Angelenos and Mexicans meet over mezcal, but this is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. Krista Simmons, Condé Nast Traveler, "35 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles," 27 Feb. 2018

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

Last Updated

2 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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