Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To play (a stringed musical instrument) by stroking or brushing the strings: strum a banjo.
  • transitive v. To play (music) on a stringed instrument in this way: strum chords on a guitar.
  • intransitive v. To play a stringed instrument by strumming.
  • n. The act or sound of strumming.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To play a guitar or other stringed instrument using various strings simultaneously.
  • n. The sound made by playing various strings of a stringed instrument simultaneously.
  • n. The act of strumming.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • v. To play on an instrument of music, or as on an instrument, in an unskillful or noisy way; to thrum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To play unskilfully, or in a vulgar, noisy manner, on a stringed musical instrument of the lute or harp kind, as a guitar, banjo, or zither, or (by extension) on a pianoforte; thrum.
  • To play upon carelessly or unskilfully, as a stringed instrument; produce by rough manipulation of musical chords.
  • To produce a specified effect upon by strumming on a musical instrument.
  • n. A strumming; a careless or discordant performance on a stringed instrument.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. sound the strings of (a string instrument)
  • n. sound of strumming

Etymologies

Perhaps imitative.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Not surprisingly, the strum is the thing for Luna.

    Chicago Reader

  • Rock out by blasting enemies with riff combos and creating your own sounds with each "strum" of a chord!

    Gaming Target

  • When you listen to Irish or Scottish tunes, keep your pick in hand and 'strum' (I like to use the outer seam of my pants on my thigh) along with the melody.

    Mandolin Cafe News

  • A feature added in the 1.2 update is the ability to "strum" the chord by simply flicking your finger across the guitar neck.

    iProng Magazine

  • You can't help but smile at his first Zorro-esque line, accompanied by a guitar strum: "Through the years I have been known by many names."

    'Like Crazy': From Cupid's Blunders, Wonders

  • You raise towns of brick on roads of dust, my flute, my drum, my lyre to strum, in lust.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • He picked up a trail-scarred banjo from the floor and began to strum a few wandering notes.

    THE FAITH OF MEN

  • He packed it, guarded it at gas stops, encouraged my song writing and sang along as I struggled to strum the right strings.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

  • The cappuccino was excellent, but even more impressive was the way Mr. Milos poured the steamed milk—creating heart, leaf and tulip designs in the foam; but without any of the strum und drang or self-congratulation that attends the average American barista's efforts.

    Coffee That Gives a Real Jolt

  • If I am holding an instrument, I strum a chord and I expect a reaction in the same way back from that.

    Music Promoted as Peacemaker, Catalyst for Change in Middle East

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