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

  • intransitive verb Music To play (a stringed instrument) idly or monotonously.
  • intransitive verb To speak, repeat, or recite in a monotonous tone of voice; drone.
  • intransitive verb Music To strum idly on a stringed instrument.
  • intransitive verb To speak in a monotonous tone of voice; drone.
  • noun A thrumming sound.
  • noun The fringe of warp threads left on a loom after the cloth has been cut off.
  • noun One of these threads.
  • noun A loose end, fringe, or tuft of thread or wool.
  • transitive verb To cover or trim with thrums; fringe.
  • transitive verb To knit thrums into (mittens, hats, or socks).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun The character of being thrumeyed.
  • noun A monotonous sound, as from the careless or unskilful fingering of a guitar or harp.
  • noun The fringe of threads which remains attached to a loom when the web has been cut off; also, one of such threads.
  • noun Hence Any loose thread, or a mass or tuft of loose filamentous material.
  • noun A tuft, or a collection of tufts; a fringe or tassel.
  • noun pl. Naut., short bits of rope-yarn used for sewing on mats.
  • noun plural Coarse yarn; waste yarn.
  • noun A ragged rocky headland swept by the sea. Also thrum-cap.
  • Made of thrums, or waste yarn: as, a thrum cap or hat.
  • noun A troop.
  • noun A heap.

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

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

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

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

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

  • noun a thrumming sound
  • verb sound with a monotonous hum
  • verb sound the strings of (a string instrument)
  • verb make a rhythmic sound


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


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

[Middle English, from Old English -thrum, ligament (in tungethrum, ligament of the tongue).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Akin to Old Norse þrömr, edge, brim (Danish tromme), German Trumm. Cognate to Albanian thrumbe ("kind of shrub").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word thrum.



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

  • "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

  • 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