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

  • transitive v. Music To play (a stringed instrument) idly or monotonously: thrummed a guitar.
  • transitive v. To speak, repeat, or recite in a monotonous tone of voice; drone.
  • intransitive v. Music To strum idly on a stringed instrument.
  • intransitive v. To speak in a monotonous tone of voice; drone.
  • n. A thrumming sound.
  • n. The fringe of warp threads left on a loom after the cloth has been cut off.
  • n. One of these threads.
  • n. A loose end, fringe, or tuft of thread.
  • n. Nautical Short bits of rope yarn inserted into canvas to roughen the surface.
  • transitive v. To cover or trim with thrums; fringe.
  • transitive v. Nautical To sew thrums in (canvas).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A thrumming sound
  • n. The fringe of threads of warp left after cloth has been cut off of a loom
  • n. Any short piece of yarn or rope
  • v. To cause a steady rhythmic vibration, usually by plucking.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the ends of weaver's threads; hence, any soft, short threads or tufts resembling these.
  • n. Any coarse yarn; an unraveled strand of rope.
  • n. A threadlike part of a flower; a stamen.
  • n. A shove out of place; a small displacement or fault along a seam.
  • n. A mat made of canvas and tufts of yarn.
  • intransitive v. To play rudely or monotonously on a stringed instrument with the fingers; to strum.
  • intransitive v. Hence, to make a monotonous drumming noise.
  • transitive v. To furnish with thrums; to insert tufts in; to fringe.
  • transitive v. To insert short pieces of rope-yarn or spun yarn in.
  • transitive v. To play, as a stringed instrument, in a rude or monotonous manner.
  • transitive v. Hence, to drum on; to strike in a monotonous manner; to thrum the table.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The fringe of threads which remains attached to a loom when the web has been cut off; also, one of such threads.
  • n. Hence Any loose thread, or a mass or tuft of loose filamentous material.
  • n. A tuft, or a collection of tufts; a fringe or tassel.
  • n. pl. Naut., short bits of rope-yarn used for sewing on mats.
  • n. plural Coarse yarn; waste yarn.
  • n. A ragged rocky headland swept by the sea. Also thrum-cap.
  • Made of thrums, or waste yarn: as, a thrum cap or hat.
  • To make of or cover with thrums, or appendages resembling thrums.
  • To thatch.
  • To play with the fingers on a stringed instrument in an idle, listless, monotonous, or unskilful manner; strum.
  • To drum or tap idly on something with the fingers.
  • To play idly or unskilfully on (some stringed instrument) with the fingers; sound by fingering in a listless or monotonous manner.
  • To drum or tap idly on.
  • n. The character of being thrumeyed.
  • n. A monotonous sound, as from the careless or unskilful fingering of a guitar or harp.
  • n. A troop.
  • n. A heap.

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

  • n. a thrumming sound
  • v. sound with a monotonous hum
  • v. sound the strings of (a string instrument)
  • v. make a rhythmic sound


Middle English, from Old English -thrum, ligament (of the tongue) (in tungethrum, ligament of the tongue).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Akin to Old Norse þrömr, edge, brim (Danish tromme), German Trumm. Cognate to Albanian thrumbe ("kind of shrub"). (Wiktionary)


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  • We learn to trill Italian songs,
    And thrum for hours the tortured keys:
    We think it pleases you, and we
    But live to please.

    - Richard Henry Stoddard, 'A Woman's Poem'.

    September 17, 2009

  • "The post-road itself is now swept into a chasmal by-pass, crossed by high footbridges that lead to new, remote parts of the town. I'd been there at night sometimes with people I'd picked up. The cars thrumming past added a certain desperate glamour to my vertigo."
    – Alan Hollinghurst, The Folding Star

    September 24, 2007