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verb (1)

thrummed; thrumming

intransitive verb

: to sound with a monotonous hum
: to play or pluck a stringed instrument idly : strum

transitive verb

: to play (something, such as a stringed instrument) in an idle or relaxed manner
: to recite tiresomely or monotonously


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noun (1)

: the monotonous sound of thrumming


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noun (2)

: a fringe of warp threads left on the loom after the cloth has been removed
: one of these warp threads
: a tuft or short piece of rope yarn used in thrumming canvas
usually used in plural
: a hair, fiber, or threadlike leaf on a plant
also : a tuft or fringe of such structures
thrum adjective


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verb (2)

thrummed; thrumming

transitive verb

: to furnish with thrums : fringe
: to insert short pieces of rope yarn or spun yarn in (a piece of canvas) to make a rough surface or a mat which can be wrapped about rigging to prevent chafing

Examples of thrum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
My body, thrumming with stress and adrenaline, began to hum instead with desire. Jerrine Tan, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Compact and thrumming with energy, Zaslav has a distinct New York accent, and speaks in long narratives that always resolve in a salesman-like pitch. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2023 Cicadas thrummed gaily, fields shimmered with bird and insect life. Joyce Carol Oates, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 By the end of the first chorus, though, as her voice rises, she’s suddenly bolstered by a thrumming beat, strings and a bull-rush arrangement that builds to a rush-of-blood-to-the-head sprint. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 7 July 2023 But this painting is also something entirely other — springy and thrumming with color shifts. Cate McQuaid,, 4 July 2023 By the 1980s, much of downtown was moribund; buildings that once thrummed with commerce were dilapidated and vacant or underused. Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 20 June 2023 There are no traffic jams, no thrumming HVAC units, no traces of pollution. Andrew Lawrence, Popular Mechanics, 6 June 2023 Inside, the supercomputer loomed over me, thrumming like a waterfall. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2023
The thrum of a lawnmower’s engine was all that disturbed the tranquility of nature. Darnell Mayberry | , cleveland, 16 Sep. 2023 Vitality thrums through his stories even in the shadows of despair. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 3 Aug. 2023 All this family drama unfolds against a backdrop that, with its local observatory and historic meteorite crater, thrums with technological innovation and postwar possibility. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2023 Dining on the early side or snaring one of the four tables out front are the only alternatives to the clamor as the night thrums on. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 9 June 2023 Poetry spills out Open until 8 on Saturday nights, the thrum of activity – from book launches, workshops, and open mics – spills into the neighborhood with singing voices, fingers snapping, and the rhythm of rhyme. Dua Anjum, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Apr. 2023 An instrumental synth track is a sinuous thrum in the background, while lens flares and swirling lights silhouette the dancers unbothered by Wick and Killa’s antics. Vulture, 25 Mar. 2023 Classic rock could be heard playing on the radio, over the thrum of machinery. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2023 The tiny Tyrrhenian Island of Ischia, a breezy ferry ride from Naples, feels a world apart from the thrum of the metropolitan city and the throngs crowding the Amalfi Coast. Lauren Mowery, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Verb (1)


Noun (2)

Middle English, from Old English -thrum (in tungethrum ligament of the tongue); akin to Old High German drum fragment

First Known Use

Verb (1)

1592, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

Noun (1)

1798, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of thrum was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near thrum

Cite this Entry

“Thrum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


thrummed; thrumming
: to sound or speak with a steady or boring rhythm
thrum noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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