One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Used to represent a regular rhythmic musical sound.
1A regular rhythmic musical sound.
2Rowing. A clinker-built racing-boat for one or more scullers, with outriggers and sliding seat, used on the lower Thames. Occasionally attributive.
Early 19th century. Imitative of the sound of a drum roll. The semantic motivation of sense B. 3 is unclear; it may perhaps show a different word.
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