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

  • n. A small thin piece of metal, plastic, bone, or similar material, used to pluck the strings of certain instruments, such as the guitar or lute.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An anatomical part resembling a plectrum in shape.
  • n. A small piece of plastic, metal, ivory, etc for plucking the strings of a guitar, lyre, mandolin, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small instrument of ivory, wood, metal, or quill, used in playing upon the lyre and other stringed instruments.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small instrument of ivory, horn, or metal used for plucking or twanging the strings of a lyre, cithara, or other similar instrument.
  • n. Something like or likened to a plectrum.

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

  • n. a small thin device (of metal or plastic or ivory) used to pluck a stringed instrument


Latin plēctrum, from Greek plēktron, from plēssein, plēg-, to strike.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin plēctrum, from Ancient Greek πλήκτρον (pléktron) “anything to strike with, an instrument for striking the lyre, a spear point”, from πλήσσειν (pléssein) “to strike, to smite, to sting”. (Wiktionary)


  • The ants have two segments of their abdomen, that's the last section of their bodies, that they rub together and one of these sections has a whole series of grooves on them and the other half has something that we call the plectrum, that is a bit like the plectrum of a guitar except it itself has several grooves, and when they rub these two surfaces together it produces sort of chirruping type noises.


  • Imagine your plectrum is a "ping-pong ball" (drom the first) and it just goes up and down - without changing speed!

    All Updates @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com

  • Another interesting feature on offer is a plectrum, which is an extra input device besides the alphanumeric keypad and pen stylus.

    The Economic Times

  • - Remember that triangular thing called a plectrum that's supposed to be one of a user's choices for ways of input on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic?

    Megite Technology News: What's Happening Right Now

  • Remember that triangular thing called a plectrum that's supposed to be one of a user's choices for ways of input on the

    Unwired View

  • Tlie plior - niinx, or large lyre, dedicated to Apollo, and plaj-ed upon with an ivory instrument, called plectrum, seems, from certain very intricate and minute parts always recurring in its repre - sentations, to have been a very complicated structure.

    Costume of the ancients

  • Actually, this layout of chord buttons and 'plectrum' bar would also be a cool format for a midi controller - plugged into a laptop, of course...

    eBay of the Day: Hohner Guitaret

  • The strings were struck with a kind of plectrum, held in the right hand, and were touched with the left hand immediately afterwards to stop the vibration, just as the dampers in the pianoforte fall on the string the moment the key is released.

    Critical and Historical Essays Lectures delivered at Columbia University

  • The biwa is played with a kind of plectrum, called bachi, usually made of horn.

    Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

  • Hutchison's between-song banter was often hilarious and he showed no shortage of the fabled Scottish charm; he even exuded silliness as he discussed a "plectrum" (pick) that someone had given him.

    owl and bear


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  • from Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

    July 19, 2009