Definition of strum in English:



  • 1 Play (a guitar or similar instrument) by sweeping the thumb or a plectrum up or down across the strings.

    ‘he was sitting in the bedroom strumming a guitar’
    [no object] ‘the minister strummed on his guitar’
    • ‘He began to strum his guitar strings gently to the tune of ‘Meant For You.’’
    • ‘I followed the sound of his fingers strumming the guitar strings and his smooth voice singing lyrics that I couldn't understand.’
    • ‘Terra heard herself quietly strumming on her strings, carrying her sad song over the whole club.’
    • ‘The whole day was spent only gently strumming the guitar.’
    • ‘Her fingers strummed the strings creating sad melodies.’
    • ‘Like a musician strumming a one-string guitar, Tompkins managed to tease a thin strand of art from smut - or perhaps vice versa.’
    • ‘Anthony nodded to the bard dancing on a table as he sang and strummed his lute.’
    • ‘Ian preferred moody songwriters who slowly strummed guitars and wallowed self-indulgently in their own impenetrable deepness.’
    • ‘Her already long fingers seemed to gently strum just the right strings.’
    • ‘When I opened the double doors, the first thing I saw was Benji, strumming his guitar, singing along with Joel.’
    • ‘The prince sat in his ridiculous outfit strumming a lute that desperately needed to be tuned.’
    • ‘He placed his fingers on some strings, and strummed the instrument.’
    • ‘I was leaning against the wall, mindlessly strumming my guitar, my fingers clutching a bright green pick, my hair falling into my eyes.’
    • ‘His question was immediately answered when she brought out her guitar and began strumming the strings.’
    • ‘He starts strumming his electric guitar in the vague direction of a rhythm.’
    • ‘He then grabbed his busted up guitar and strummed a few strings.’
    • ‘You can go to a luau, take the kids to a discovery museum, listen to Hawaiian musicians strumming soft guitars or just stare at the moon.’
    • ‘Choirs of drunken angels sing over strings and horns while Conor strums his acoustic guitar with passion and rage.’
    • ‘One old lady in her 70s sits singing and strumming her guitar with a maraca, cataracts on both eyes, a few coins at her feet.’
    • ‘I grabbed a pen, strummed my guitar, and let the words flow out of me like they were the most natural thing in the world.’
    strum, twang, thrum, pluck, finger
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Play (a tune) by strumming the strings of a guitar or similar instrument.
      ‘he strummed a few chords’
      • ‘I picked up the guitar, slowly strumming a tune.’
      • ‘His fingers began strumming another song, and the crowd did not falter in the steps of the dance.’
      • ‘D.J. smiled back, his fingers absently strumming a light melody.’
      • ‘He takes on the roles of other characters, as well as strumming a few wee tunes on his ukulele.’
      • ‘Eric strummed a random tune in his guitar and continued speaking as he closed his eyes and bent his head.’
      • ‘I listened for the first few times around, then began strumming a counter melody.’
      • ‘Another guy Jen hadn't seen at the video shoot but knew was named Allen, strummed a steady rhythm on his bass.’
      • ‘Josiah started strumming a song and after a few minutes Ana picked up the song.’
      • ‘She stared intently as he closed his eyes, and strummed the first chord.’
      • ‘Gently strummed chords are given the merest of treatments.’
      • ‘He strummed a slow tune, his rich baritone filling the air.’
      • ‘I'm strumming a tune on my morin khuur and I'm reading DC Comics Superman / Batman #17.’
      • ‘When the guitarist strummed his final note, he looked up and locked gazes with Blair.’
      • ‘He began to lightly strum a melody again.’
      • ‘She started the upfront on a high note by strumming a couple of tunes.’
      • ‘Although his left hand had stopped moving, his right was still quietly strumming the melody.’
      • ‘She thought briefly about a tune then began to strum it.’
      • ‘Before long he looked up and strummed a little tune like he had at the café when I'd been severely annoyed.’
      • ‘He watched her as she remained quiet, lightly strumming a chord or two.’
      • ‘Hans began to strum a lively tune and then Fritz added in and Edvard began to dance.’
    2. 1.2[no object]Play casually or unskilfully on a stringed or keyboard instrument.
      ‘the guitar player strummed along respectfully’
      • ‘He picked up his guitar and started strumming away while singing his song.’
      • ‘"That stuff don't matter, " I'd say as I strummed away.’
      • ‘Martin joined in with his friend, strumming along with him in perfect time.’
      • ‘As she strummed, music began to gush forth from the vibrating metal strings at the touch of her fingertips.’
      • ‘He sat the guitar in his lap and strummed softly, checking if it was still in tune.’
      • ‘She nodded, her fingers still strumming lazily.’
      • ‘He saw several musicians seated in one corner, gently strumming away on elegant harps and elaborate lutes.’
      • ‘After ten years of listening to your neighbour strumming tunelessly on the Spanish guitar he bought while on holiday in Benidorm, you're ready for a move.’
      • ‘I grinned and flopped onto the piano bench as Ethan strummed away.’
      • ‘The drums die away for the last minute of the track and fade into what sounds like a guitar strumming along to a keyboard melody.’
      • ‘Josh was standing in the middle of the stage, his guitar in hand, strumming along.’
      • ‘She did some fingerpicking, then strummed softly again.’
      • ‘Scott started strumming as he starting to sing with the rest of the group.’
      • ‘We all knew the piece and we were all mentally strumming along.’
      • ‘We strummed, plucked, whacked, and sang as best we could, given the hour and the quality of the coffee we had just sipped.’
      • ‘Once a child has learned how to sing and strum - keeping the beat - then you can try switching places.’
      • ‘She began to strum, and soon she began to sing and play a song.’
      • ‘And they'd just sit there all day, strumming away for spare change.’
      • ‘Midnight holds his umbrella over his shoulder, while Mandolin is strumming idly on a mandolin.’
      • ‘‘It's like I'm clear,’ she said finally, still strumming and strumming, trying to drown out the noise, to keep it away.’
      strum, pick, thrum, twang, plunk, finger
      View synonyms


  • 1A sound made by strumming a guitar or similar instrument.

    ‘the brittle strum of acoustic guitars’
    • ‘The frantic guitar strum, filtered through a wah-wah pedal, is irresistible and carries this song with speed and finesse.’
    • ‘She snapped back to earth when she heard a few strums of the guitar.’
    • ‘The song ends almost before you've noticed, and without pause the warm organ/acoustic guitar strum of ‘Soul Collateral’ rushes in.’
    • ‘And even when it segues into the sweet acoustic strum and hard beats of ‘Motoring Britain’, it still works.’
    • ‘‘Go Get Some’ contains a guitar strum eerily reminiscent of the Mulholland Drive theme.’
    • ‘He and his four-piece band begin politely enough, with the jaunty, aw-shucks acoustic strum of Joanna.’
    • ‘On My Way To Absence begins with the quiet acoustic guitar strum and gentle piano of ‘White Center.’’
    • ‘Gone is the sparse acoustic strum of a heartbroken Norfolk lass and in steps a more knowing soul.’
    • ‘The soft strum of a guitar was playing outside and a girl was singing along with it.’
    • ‘It was dark and silent other than the strums of Carl's guitar.’
    • ‘He let go of me, and I suddenly felt a chill down my spine as I heard the strum of guitars from the stage behind me.’
    • ‘Twilight is a stark-naked love song, built solely around slow acoustic strums, wafting keyboard lines and Smith's shivering falsetto.’
    • ‘The soft strums from the guitar at times sounded more like a harp.’
    • ‘Their conversation was interrupted by a strum on an acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘For modern acoustic guitar-wielding crooners, monotony lurks quickly between hushed major-chord strums.’
    • ‘The kids hit the sand, and the adults sway to guitar strums and drumbeats.’
    • ‘Each strum of the guitar trembles through the amplifier to turn feedback into magic.’
    • ‘Track one, ‘Venus,’ starts off with a pounding piano and a punctuated acoustic guitar strum.’
    • ‘Katie could do nothing but just nod her head, as the first strum of the guitar was heard.’
    • ‘The song begins slowly and reflectively, with the solo strum of an acoustic guitar.’
    1. 1.1An act or period of strumming a guitar or similar instrument.
      • ‘I didn't have to wait long before Rowan made a motion with his hand and with a strum of Andy's guitar the song began.’
      • ‘With a solid 3 / 16th of an inch extending from your fingertips, you can get a nice, authoritative strum going with very little effort.’


Late 18th century: imitative; compare with thrum.