\ ˈstrəm \

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

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 The new track about flying sparks between lovers is as fiery as expected, combining lead singer Cristal Ramirez's soulful vocals with clashing percussion and glimmering guitar strums. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "The Aces Heat Up With Fiery New Single 'Volcanic Love'," 9 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Vietnamese veterans in their uniforms saluted McCain’s casket, and a mariachi singer strummed his guitar and sang outside as a tribute. Frank Miles, Fox News, "McCain's kin weep over casket at emotional memorial; crowds brave Phoenix heat for hours for chance to bid farewell," 29 Aug. 2018 Any guitar player who strums this incredible custom axe is going to be shredding paper. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A Fender Stratocaster Made of Corrugated Cardboard Actually Sounds Awesome," 4 Dec. 2015 Eddy’s aggressive approach to the material is understood, and echoed, by a frantic chorus of singing, dancing, uke-strumming denizens of the show’s central location, the Kit Kat Club. Christopher Arnott,, "A Coarse, Cacophonous, Compelling 'Cabaret' In New Haven," 26 June 2018 The family’s music career had its roots with Pops Staples, a manual laborer who strummed a $10 guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained in the evenings. Caryn Rousseau, Washington Post, "Yvonne Staples, part of family’s hit-making gospel group, dies at 80," 11 Apr. 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

23 Nov 2018

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 \
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

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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