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

  • n. A percussion instrument consisting of a hollow cylinder or hemisphere with a membrane stretched tightly over one or both ends, played by beating with the hands or sticks.
  • n. A sound produced by this instrument.
  • n. Something resembling a drum in shape or structure, especially a barrellike metal container or a metal cylinder wound with cable, wire, or heavy rope.
  • n. Architecture A circular or polygonal wall supporting a dome or cupola. Also called tambour.
  • n. Architecture Any of the cylindrical stone blocks that are stacked to form the shaft of a column.
  • n. Any of various marine and freshwater fishes of the family Sciaenidae that make a drumming sound.
  • n. Anatomy The eardrum.
  • intransitive v. To play a drum or drums.
  • intransitive v. To thump or tap rhythmically or continually: nervously drummed on the table.
  • intransitive v. To produce a booming, reverberating sound by beating the wings, as certain birds do.
  • transitive v. To perform (a piece or tune) on or as if on a drum.
  • transitive v. To summon by or as if by beating a drum.
  • transitive v. To make known to or force upon (a person) by constant repetition: drummed the answers into my head.
  • transitive v. To expel or dismiss in disgrace. Often used with out: was drummed out of the army.
  • drum up To bring about by continuous, persistent effort: drum up new business.
  • drum up To devise; invent: drummed up an alibi.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A percussive musical instrument spanned with a thin covering on at least one end for striking, forming an acoustic chamber, affecting what materials are used to make it.
  • n. Any similar hollow, cylindrical object.
  • n. In particular, a barrel or large cylindrical container for liquid transport and storage.
  • n. A social gathering or assembly held in the evening.
  • n. The encircling wall that supports a dome or cupola
  • n. Any of the cylindrical blocks that make up the shaft of a pillar
  • n. A drumfish.
  • v. (music) To beat a drum.
  • v. To knock successively and playfully.
  • v. To drill or review in an attempt to establish memorization.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument of percussion, consisting either of a hollow cylinder, over each end of which is stretched a piece of skin or vellum, to be beaten with a stick; or of a metallic hemisphere (kettledrum) with a single piece of skin to be so beaten; the common instrument for marking time in martial music; one of the pair of tympani in an orchestra, or cavalry band.
  • n. Anything resembling a drum in form.
  • n. A sheet iron radiator, often in the shape of a drum, for warming an apartment by means of heat received from a stovepipe, or a cylindrical receiver for steam, etc.
  • n. A small cylindrical box in which figs, etc., are packed.
  • n. The tympanum of the ear; -- often, but incorrectly, applied to the tympanic membrane.
  • n. One of the cylindrical, or nearly cylindrical, blocks, of which the shaft of a column is composed; also, a vertical wall, whether circular or polygonal in plan, carrying a cupola or dome.
  • n. A cylinder on a revolving shaft, generally for the purpose of driving several pulleys, by means of belts or straps passing around its periphery; also, the barrel of a hoisting machine, on which the rope or chain is wound.
  • n. See Drumfish.
  • n. A noisy, tumultuous assembly of fashionable people at a private house; a rout.
  • n. A tea party; a kettledrum.
  • intransitive v. To beat a drum with sticks; to beat or play a tune on a drum.
  • intransitive v. To beat with the fingers, as with drumsticks; to beat with a rapid succession of strokes; to make a noise like that of a beaten drum.
  • intransitive v. To throb, as the heart.
  • intransitive v. To go about, as a drummer does, to gather recruits, to draw or secure partisans, customers, etc,; -- with for.
  • transitive v. To execute on a drum, as a tune.
  • transitive v. (With out) To expel ignominiously, with beat of drum
  • transitive v. (With up) To assemble by, or as by, beat of drum; to collect; to gather or draw by solicitation

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To beat a drum; beat or play a tune on a drum.
  • To beat rhythmically or regularly with the fingers or something else, as if using drum sticks: as, to drum on the table.
  • To beat, as the heart; throb.
  • To attract recruits, as by the sound of the drum; hence, in the United States, to sue for partizans, customers, etc.: followed by for.
  • To sound like a drum; resound.
  • To produce a sound resembling drumming: said of partridges, blackcock, and other birds. It is done by quivering the expanded feathers of the wings.
  • To perform on a drum, as a tune.
  • Milit., to expel formally and accompany in departure with the beat of the drum: often used figuratively, and usually followed by out: as, the disgraced soldier was drummed out of the regiment.
  • To summon as by beat of drum.
  • To force upon the attention by continual iteration; din: as, to drum something into one's ears.
  • To treat in a drum, as skins. See druml, n., 3 .
  • In forestry, to haul (logs) by drum and cable out of a hollow or cove.
  • n. A musical instrument of the percussive class, consisting of a hollow wooden or metallic body and a tightly stretched head of membrane which is struck with a stick.
  • n. In arch.: The solid part of the Corinthian and Composite capital, otherwise called bell, vase, or basket.
  • n. One of the blocks of nearly cylindrical form of which the shafts of many columns are constructed.
  • n. An upright member under or above a dome.
  • n. In machinery, a term applied to various contrivances resembling a drum in shape.
  • n. Specifically— A cylinder revolving on an axis for the purpose of turning wheels by means of belts or bands passing round it.
  • n. The barrel of a crane or windlass.
  • n. A cylinder on which wire is wound, as in wire-drawing.
  • n. The grinding cylinder or cone of some mills.
  • n. The cast-iron case which holds the coiled spring of a spring car-brake.
  • n. A circular radiator for steam or hot air; a stove-drum or steam-drum.
  • n. In water-heaters or steam-boilers, a chamber into which heated water is made to flow in order to afford room for other bodies of water from parts of the boiler not so near the fire.
  • n. A steam-tight cask in which printed fabrics are submitted to the action of steam to fix the colors.
  • n. A washing-tub for cleaning rags in paper-making.
  • n. A doffer in a carding-machine.
  • n. In a vase or similar vessel, that part of the body which approximates to a cylindrical form.
  • n. In anatomy and zoöl.: The tympanum or middle ear.
  • n. The tracheal tympanum or labyrinth of a bird. See tympanum, 4.
  • n. One of the tympanic organs seated in two deep cavities on the first abdominal segment of certain Homoptera, and said to be used in producing sounds.
  • n. The large hollow hyoid bone of a howling monkey. See Mycetinæ.
  • n. A membrane drawn over a round frame, used for testing the delicate edges of eye-instruments.
  • n. A receptacle having the form of a drum, or the quantity packed in such receptacle: as, a drum of figs.
  • n. Milit., a party accompanied by a drum sent under a flag of truce to confer with the enemy.
  • n. A fashionable and crowded evening party, at which card-playing appears to have been the chief attraction; a rout. The more riotous of such assemblies were styled drum-majors.
  • n. An afternoon tea. Also called kettledrum, with a punning allusion to tea-kettle.
  • n. In ichthyology, a name of several sciænoid fishes: so called from the drumming noise they make, said to be due, in part at least, to the grinding of the pharyngeal bones upon each other.
  • n. A ridge; a hill.
  • n. Specifically
  • n. A long narrow ridge or mound of sand, gravel, and boulders: a name given by Irish geologists to elevations of this kind believed to have been the result of glacial agencies. See eskar, horseback, and kame. Also called drumlin.

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

  • n. small to medium-sized bottom-dwelling food and game fishes of shallow coastal and fresh waters that make a drumming noise
  • n. a musical percussion instrument; usually consists of a hollow cylinder with a membrane stretched across each end
  • n. a cylindrical metal container used for shipping or storage of liquids
  • n. a hollow cast-iron cylinder attached to the wheel that forms part of the brakes
  • n. the sound of a drum
  • v. make a rhythmic sound
  • v. study intensively, as before an exam
  • n. a bulging cylindrical shape; hollow with flat ends
  • v. play a percussion instrument


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

Middle English drom, probably alteration of Middle Dutch tromme, probably of imitative origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1535, back-formation from drumslade "drummer" from Middle Dutch trommelslach ("drumbeat"), from trommel ("drum") + slach ("beat") (Dutch slag).



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