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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
The natural world is thrumming with signals—most of which we humans miss completely, as Yong’s fascinating book on animal senses makes clear. Chelsea Leu, The Atlantic, 3 Apr. 2024 On a six-lane stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard that thrums with traffic, the dining options within view highlighted a problem South Los Angeles has long faced — and one that could worsen when the minimum wage for fast-food workers is boosted from $16 to $20 on April 1. Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024 The sandworms are seen to consume pretty much anything that rhythmically thrums in their territory, from the spice harvester machines to the Imperial Sardaukar and the brutish Harkonnen troops. Popular Science, 6 Mar. 2024 My competence in the work itself, utilizing machines, tools, and my own hands, never fails to quiet some thrumming tension in my core, a need to be an instrument for fulfilling responsibilities. M. R. O’Connor, The New Yorker, 29 Feb. 2024 Ultimately, the story that erupts from this intensely personal and domestic scenario is thrumming with wider cultural resonances. Cate Blanchett, Rolling Stone, 26 Feb. 2024 But beneath the festive atmosphere thrummed a note of anxiety. Vivian Wang, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2023 This is the awful, revelatory idea thrumming at the heart of Godzilla, what gives these films their curious power, even at a time when anxieties about nuclear disasters (still a genuine danger) have been surpassed. Asher Elbein, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023 The New Wave filmmakers discerned, extracted, and developed those aspects of recent American movies that seethed and thrummed with the spirit of youth in order to create their own cinema of actual and manifest youth. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023
Taken together, the steady thrum of departures has created a sense that venture capital — a $1.1 trillion corner of finance that invests in young, private companies, sometimes spawning enterprises like Apple, Google and Amazon — is in a moment of transition. Erin Griffith, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2024 There is a trauma from hearing gunshots and seeing gun injuries, and daily life can be a thrum of risk in vulnerable communities, notably those largely populated by Black and Hispanic people, Buggs said. Christine Spolar, NPR, 6 Mar. 2024 With an aging audience in decline, the familiar thrum of its potato-potato V-twin exhaust note was becoming irrelevant. Peter Jackson, Robb Report, 1 Mar. 2024 The horror lies in the steadiness of it all, in its terribly unrelenting pulse and drone: Every thrum is a shovelful of dirt on your casket. Pitchfork, 4 Dec. 2023 Being an alien here might just be a metaphor for the difficult blessing of feeling enough apart from the thrum of life on Earth to report on its goings-on: to tell a story. Alexandra Jacobs, New York Times, 7 Jan. 2024 Hundreds of thousands have fled to the south, leaving a silence broken only by the pop of machine-gun fire and the heavy thrum of Israeli tanks. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2023 Suzane Loi has been perched behind the cash register at The Coffee Mill in Oakland, Calif., for 27 years, watching the daily thrum of Grand Avenue through the cafe’s huge windows. Shawn Hubler, New York Times, 14 Dec. 2023 The roar of the growing burn was overlaid with the thrum of air tankers and helicopters as firefighting response began to gear up. John Riha, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023

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 17 Apr. 2024.

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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