from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large hemispherical drum, often made of copper or brass with a parchment head.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drum (on the kettledrum); sound like a kettledrum.
  • noun A musical instrument used in military bands and in orchestras, consisting of a hollow brass hemisphere from 24 to 30 inches in diameter, over which is stretched a head of parchment.
  • noun A fashionable afternoon entertainment given by a woman chiefly to women. It is less formal than an evening party, and the ladyguests generally wear bonnets. Also drum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) A drum made of thin copper in the form of a hemispherical kettle, with parchment stretched over the mouth of it.
  • noun An informal social party at which a light collation is offered, held in the afternoon or early evening. Cf. Drum, n., 4 and 5.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music A large hemispherical brass percussion instrument (one of the timpani) with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting its tension.

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

  • noun a large hemispherical brass or copper percussion instrument with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting the tension on it


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

kettle +‎ drum


  • Of course the play upon this meaning of the word and the instrument called a kettledrum is intentional, the word "drum" meaning a crowded "evening party," "drum," applying to the close packing, as, a drum of figs. Answer also received from A BUSY BEE.

    Little Folks A Magazine for the Young (Date of issue unknown)

  • Kumran hearing of this was very angry, for the beating of a kettledrum is a sign of Empire.

    The Adventures of Akbar

  • So, although many a house is opened this winter at the same convenient hour, and with perhaps only the bouillon and tea-kettle and bit of cake or sandwich (for really no one wants more refreshment than this before dinner and after luncheon), the name of these afternoon entertainments has been by mutual consent dropped, and we no longer see the word "kettledrum" or "afternoon tea" on a card, but simply the date and the hour.

    Manners and Social Usages

  • 'kettledrum' and that one's 'at home' you will be bored to death by hearing their version of it, so you might as well do one thing as the other.

    Honor Edgeworth Ottawa's Present Tense

  • Laughs I'm like the kettledrum just before the big splash!

    Walt Willey Weighs in on All My Children's New Love Triangle

  • The origins of tabla repertoire and technique may be found in all three and in physical structure there are also elements of all three: the smaller pakhawaj head for the dayan, the naqqara kettledrum for the bayan, and the flexible use of the bass of the dholak.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • I commented over on your kettledrum site, but I just had to say that I am so glad you are doing these historical blogs.

    Nicolas Appert: Father of Canning

  • Then he took out the copper kettledrum and beat it with the broidered strap, whereupon up came the dromedaries.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • In my head, the words beat like a kettledrum: Let it be a challenge to you, Deni!

    Kee Yah!!

  • I passed a couple of colorful beatniks playing on a warm wooden kettledrum and a beat-up guitar.

    Steven Denlinger: Bartering My Future


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.