Definition of strum in English:


verbstrummed, strums, strumming

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

nounPlural strums

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

    ‘the brittle strum of acoustic guitars’
    • ‘The soft strum of a guitar was playing outside and a girl was singing along with it.’
    • ‘Katie could do nothing but just nod her head, as the first strum of the guitar was heard.’
    • ‘It was dark and silent other than the strums of Carl's guitar.’
    • ‘Their conversation was interrupted by a strum on an acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘And even when it segues into the sweet acoustic strum and hard beats of ‘Motoring Britain’, it still works.’
    • ‘The frantic guitar strum, filtered through a wah-wah pedal, is irresistible and carries this song with speed and finesse.’
    • ‘‘Go Get Some’ contains a guitar strum eerily reminiscent of the Mulholland Drive theme.’
    • ‘On My Way To Absence begins with the quiet acoustic guitar strum and gentle piano of ‘White Center.’’
    • ‘The song begins slowly and reflectively, with the solo strum of an acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The soft strums from the guitar at times sounded more like a harp.’
    • ‘He and his four-piece band begin politely enough, with the jaunty, aw-shucks acoustic strum of Joanna.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She snapped back to earth when she heard a few strums of the guitar.’
    • ‘Twilight is a stark-naked love song, built solely around slow acoustic strums, wafting keyboard lines and Smith's shivering falsetto.’
    • ‘For modern acoustic guitar-wielding crooners, monotony lurks quickly between hushed major-chord strums.’
    • ‘The song ends almost before you've noticed, and without pause the warm organ/acoustic guitar strum of ‘Soul Collateral’ rushes in.’
    • ‘Gone is the sparse acoustic strum of a heartbroken Norfolk lass and in steps a more knowing soul.’
    • ‘Track one, ‘Venus,’ starts off with a pounding piano and a punctuated acoustic guitar strum.’
    1. 1.1 An 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.