Main definitions of drum in English

: drum1drum2drum3

drum1

noun

  • 1A percussion instrument sounded by being struck with sticks or the hands, typically cylindrical, barrel-shaped, or bowl-shaped with a taut membrane over one or both ends.

    • ‘In the first-aid room, I come across Evans helping four children to find the scariest way to suggest the presence of a lurking Minotaur using drums, cymbals and sticks.’
    • ‘The ancient sound of African djembe drums can be heard outside office towers and health centers across the world.’
    • ‘Before that, he played the bass drum in his high school marching band.’
    • ‘Beninese also make a wide range of handmade instruments, from twin drums to small Beninese guitars.’
    • ‘Each track seems to be accented with an exotic instrument like the Indian drum, bass conga, Moroccan clay drums, and the wah-wah bass.’
    • ‘The gloomy gothic mood of the background sounds serves the metallic drums and dark vocals, contributing to make this song a rather unsettling moment.’
    • ‘At such high speeds, priorities invert; the drums become the lead instrument.’
    • ‘Sitting in the midst of an array of flutes of all sizes, large drums and other musical instruments, this old man was trying to get our attention for the longest time.’
    • ‘Protesters moved in groups of 40 to 50 amid whirring sirens and beating drums.’
    • ‘Here they are replaced with thin crackling snares and pounding tribal bass drums.’
    • ‘A lambeg drum is an enormous instrument beaten with great enthusiasm by orange marching bands.’
    • ‘So what about percussion instruments: drums, cymbals, tympani - can they express emotion too?’
    • ‘After the likes of such instruments as guitars, drums, bass guitar, and harmonica, the band whipped out the allusive Australian didgeridoo.’
    • ‘James was fond of percussion that didn't even pretend to sound like real drums.’
    • ‘And people are being urged to take along drums or makeshift percussion instruments - even dustbins - to give the extravaganza a resounding boost.’
    • ‘The Korean fans are banging drums and urging their team on with even more vigour.’
    • ‘The teacher gave each kid a rhythm instrument to play - drums, cymbals, sticks, and so on.’
    • ‘And the third setting is just right for recording louder sound sources such as drums or percussion instruments.’
    • ‘Another work along the same lines is Curse Upon Iron, which replaces the bass drum with a shaman drum and adds female voices to the choir.’
    • ‘The resulting album is a pleasant mix of guitars and drums, with electronic sounds, that is headed up by a strong vocal performer.’
    1. 1.1A set of drums.
      • ‘This is Chris, his home computer, a guitar, some second hand drums, and several months of late nights whilst holding down the day job.’
      • ‘He took care of the songwriting, vocals, and guitar playing, and two local musicians contributed on bass and drums.’
      • ‘A lot of people don't know that both Keith and I did drums.’
      • ‘A set of drums, suspended cymbals, and other percussion instruments forming the basic equipment of the jazz, rock, and dance-band drummer.’
      • ‘I played drums in little combos at school, then from the age of 13 or 14, with some of the local country bands around the town of Lubbock.’
      • ‘Almost overlooked on drums, Josh provides the support for Billy to discharge the chords, and Cooper to rifle her bass.’
      • ‘Now they are back with a new name and a new line-up featuring Russell on drums and percussion, Daniel as singer/songwriter and Chris Clapton, 24, on bass.’
      • ‘Throughout, he's ably abetted by a crack team of session musicians, including ace jazzer Bill Frisell on guitar and Jim Keltner on drums.’
      • ‘The house band, featuring Phil Collins on drums and the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, will accompany the concert.’
      • ‘David's favorite percussion instrument was the drums.’
      • ‘Courtenay Purcell came in on keyboards, Jake Gladman on bass, and Mike Roberts completed the rhythm section on drums.’
      • ‘On top of writing and producing the thing, he played every instrument - guitar, drums, piano, bass, you-name-it.’
      • ‘There might be the odd guitar and battered amplifier, even a set of sixties drums to give a struggling band genuine credibility but no synth band was ever going to start in our school.’
      • ‘I grew up playing music with my brother - I played drums and he played guitar mostly rock stuff.’
      • ‘Dan took control of virtually all the instruments in the studio, although his brother was brought in to play drums.’
      • ‘Finlay's band includes locals Cory Papirny on drums and bassist Chris Brzezicki.’
      • ‘Zak Starkey, a Beatle once-removed, plays drums on this latest offering.’
      • ‘We then took a break for a few months and played our next gig nine months later, this time as a four piece with Tom on rhythm guitar and Martin on drums.’
      • ‘Holland's ruthless energy on the drums summed up the band as a whole; relentless, on form, and obviously enjoying themselves.’
      • ‘What's instantly impressive is just how much mayhem the band can bring to the table with just a piano and drums.’
    2. 1.2The percussion section of a band or orchestra.
      • ‘Jazz bands without drums or bass oblige the remaining participants to be extremely industrious.’
      • ‘Harmonies come courtesy of three male singers while the percussion, bass and drums ensure the sound is wrapped in the rhythms of their Guinean ancestors.’
      • ‘Inside the car, the hundred megaton speakers may be transmitting the unique sound of some howling pop star with an ululating mouth harp and a back-up band, heavy on drums.’
      • ‘Intensity and loudness increases by the middle of the movement, with some sharp attacks by the strings, with drums and syncopated rhythms.’
      • ‘While the 72nd Sutton Music Festival will benefit from a grant of £300 to enable organisers to set up a new section for drums and keyboard musicians.’
      • ‘The staples are represented - alto and soprano sax, bass, drums, woodwinds, piano, and, to a lesser extent, the clarinet and some vocals.’
    3. 1.3[in singular]A sound made by or resembling that of a drum.
      ‘the drum of their feet’
      • ‘To the drum of a coxswain, international member paddlers of the Shanghai Shang Long Dragon Boat Team press forward on Dianshan Lake.’
      • ‘She heard the tin whistle begin, and without even realising she was doing it, began tapping her feet to the ever-present drum.’
      • ‘Beyond the sound of their chit-chat you sense the sonorous vibe of the African bush - from the hum of mosquito through the drum of cicada to the snorts of the hippos - closing in.’
    4. 1.4historical A military drummer.
  • 2A cylindrical container or receptacle.

    See also oil drum
    • ‘I guess they figure if you have room enough to store a 55-gallon drum of mayonnaise, well, you have the space to store a coffin until needed.’
    • ‘The cigarettes, with a retail value of £350,000, were found inside drums of pine resin in a container that had arrived in Britain through Dover.’
    • ‘I landed just on the edge of the very last fuel drum.’
    • ‘The mangoes that my parents had picked from outside their window had ripened inside the rice drum.’
    • ‘The people who have been on the coast the longest are entitled to more water, and those who are newcomers only have the right to one drum, and that has to last two weeks.’
    • ‘Though barrels may be close to extinct, companies still ship some oil in 55-gallon steel drums.’
    • ‘But staff giving evidence said they would stand inside a large rotating drum to clean the slowly-moving rollers with an air hose.’
    • ‘As well as 580 litres in the tanks they will carry about 600 litres in drums inside the vehicle: this is certainly no Smart car.’
    • ‘Research in collaboration with Peugeot has developed propulsion units rather like hamsters running inside a drum.’
    • ‘Inside these are drums for the mine tether cables that would have been attached to mines resting in the bowl-shaped indentation on the upper side of the trolley.’
    • ‘The water is transferred from gutters into black 55-gallon drums via garden hoses, which allows me to switch from one drum to another with ease.’
    • ‘He thought something was strange as he looked inside the drums, but had no idea of the hazard as he filled up his backpack sprayer.’
    • ‘After washing the reel, rinse it off in clean water then thoroughly dry the reel, taking special care of the inside of the drum and the drag area.’
    • ‘Then, overnight, completely saturate it by placing it in a soaking vessel such as an old bathtub or an open-topped metal drum.’
    • ‘There's more to a chemical or biological weapons program than rusting drums and pieces of munitions.’
    • ‘Documents found inside some of the drums, identified the actual sources of the waste - small and medium-size firms from the Veneto region of Italy.’
    • ‘Inside the drum's body is a padlocked hatch into which the money falls.’
    • ‘Tests on a 55-gallon drum came up positive for mustard gas.’
    • ‘Inside the bottomless drum are mixed items waiting to be sorted, treasures waiting to be uncovered.’
    • ‘What tends to happen is that the cords find their way into the rotating drum inside the body of the plane.’
    canister, barrel, cylinder, tank, bin, can
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A rotating cylindrical part in a washing machine, in which the laundry is placed.
      • ‘Instead they may show excessive interest in repetitive activities, such as lining up their toys or watching the washing machine drum rotate for an extended period of time.’
      • ‘If dead radio stations have graves, GLR must be spinning like a washing machine's drum right now.’
      • ‘In 2000 the Contrarotator was launched, the world's first washing machine with two rotating drums.’
      • ‘Mohsan likened clock speeds to the RPM's of washing machine drums.’
      • ‘Sometimes dye will come off new blue jeans and dry on the inside of the dryer drum, and then transfer to the next batch of wet clothes put inside.’
      • ‘Good to check dryer drum after load of brand new jeans.’
      • ‘Our baits were stored in large metal washing machine drums that we had shipped out specifically for the purpose, this kept them in superb condition.’
    2. 2.2A cylindrical part in certain other appliances.
      • ‘Rotating drums can be tilted forward or backward, hydraulically, to adjust for litter condition.’
      • ‘A direct-drive gearbox rotates the drum without the use of external gears.’
      • ‘They were standard gun-tanks fitted with rotating drums driven off their engines, from which weighted chains flailed paths through minefields.’
      • ‘The lamps were arranged vertically on the circumference of a drum around which the samples rotated at a distance of 3.5 cm.’
      • ‘The drum was constantly rotated at 30 rpm. Each fly was placed in the middle arm of a T-shaped glass tube.’
      • ‘In drum sanders the sandpaper is mounted on a cylindrical drum that rotates on an axis parallel to the plane of the floor.’
      • ‘The other side piece is located between the crank shaft and the drum, which rotate relative to each other.’
      • ‘The drum rotates as one moves the pedals, like in a bicycle.’
    3. 2.3Architecture
      The circular vertical wall supporting a dome.
      • ‘Foster and Partners' solution was to clad the circular drum with limestone to match the courtyard walls.’
      • ‘These columns are concealed by the new limestone cladding surrounding the entire drum of the Reading Room.’
      • ‘Sydney's brick drum, which was never intended to be seen from the outside, is being given a Portland stone skin.’
      • ‘It is given dynamism by a big brick drum which contains the main lecture theatre, and Is positioned asymmetrically to ensure that the space does not become rigid.’
      • ‘The roof spans from the four sides of the quadrangle onto a new ring of 20 columns that surround the reading room's drum and are concealed by its new smooth stone skin.’
      • ‘Portions of this platform could then be removed in stages to allow the drum of the dome to be constructed through the platform.’
    4. 2.4Architecture
      A stone block forming part of a column.
      • ‘The Corinthian pronaos surmounted by a drum in Juvarra's design for the facade was only added in the 19th century.’
      • ‘Today several column drums and capitals are to be found in GD 80.’
  • 3An evening or afternoon tea party of a kind that was popular in the late 18th and early 19th century.

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Play on a drum.

    • ‘Luke's hobbies include karate, in which he has a yellow belt, motorcycling - his parents bought him a motorbike for his 16th birthday - and drumming.’
    • ‘The energy from the land was invigorating and there was drumming in the near distance that added to the ambiance.’
    • ‘Samantha, you started drumming when you were 12?’
    • ‘They work at festivals, so there are lots of people that can help out with drumming and energy work while they do their thing.’
    • ‘This was the real deal too - none of your tourist queso malarkey, just a bunch of locals sitting around, strumming and drumming and clapping and singing.’
    • ‘On a weekly basis the programme consists of samba drumming, guitar and dance.’
    • ‘And Grohl's drumming on the album is exceptional, as well.’
    • ‘Also, you'll hear bongo drumming and readings from Feynman's popular books.’
    • ‘The first two are rather general, because my work comprises more than writing and editing: I also get income from drumming and sometimes from photography.’
    • ‘There's wild drumming throughout, and though it'll test your patience from time to time, the whole of the CD is wrapped up in 30 minutes give or take.’
    • ‘Workshops also took place in St Sampson's Square and King's Square, including children's face mask painting, drumming, music and samba dancing.’
    • ‘The festival would not be complete without the ancient art of Taiko drumming.’
    • ‘Evening classes for adults take place on Monday and Wednesday for beginner and advanced fiddle and guitar, and on Tuesday and Thursday for choir, handbells and drumming.’
    • ‘Not a success at school, he drifted from job to job before following his mother into drumming as a career.’
    • ‘Reitzell, who drums with Air, warns me during my nail-biting wait that Shields tends to work all night and sleep all day and never answers his phone.’
    • ‘The masters of Japan's traditional and contemporary taiko drumming combine physical performance and incredible musicianship.’
    • ‘Also, surprising to me, was the skill and energy of Torry Castellano's drumming.’
    • ‘It was the travelling that brought an end to the original John Barry Seven, said Mr Golder, who still drums in a concert band.’
    • ‘Both performances drew heavily on Melanesian sounds - interspersed with high energy chanting, drumming and dancing.’
    • ‘When he is not soaring off into the sunset, he can be found drumming in the band Absent Friends.’
    1. 1.1Make a continuous rhythmic noise.
      ‘she felt the blood drumming in her ears’
      ‘the drumming of hooves’
      • ‘Ellin could hear her heart-beat drumming madly in her ears.’
      • ‘My heart drumming in my ears, I was still too shocked to move.’
      • ‘He had natural rhythm and he'd drum on pots and pans.’
      • ‘Suddenly he could hear his heartbeat drumming in his ears, muffling out the rest of the surrounding clatter.’
      • ‘The heavy rain drummed against the windows rhythmically, making dark music that only the heartbroken could enjoy.’
      • ‘It was the sort of day when you want to stay indoors but you have to go out shopping anyway, ending up in the supermarket listening to the rain drumming on the roof of the store.’
      • ‘With the rain drumming on the roof, I was transported to the African bush.’
      • ‘Only one set of hooves drummed behind him, muffled somewhat by the snow.’
      • ‘Her voice was quaking, panicked in a way that sent my blood drumming in my ears.’
      • ‘She was quite content to sit on the sofa and listen to the rhythmic pattern of the autumn rain drumming on the metal roof of the shed.’
      • ‘As the clock strikes eight an enormous din breaks out, with prisoners banging, shouting and drumming on doors.’
      • ‘I woke up to the sound of rain drumming on the roof.’
      • ‘She hadn't been this close to him in a long time, so close she could hear his heart drumming by her ear, feel the rhythm of his breathing.’
      • ‘Out of the silence came a low hum that started soft and grew in volume until it filled everything around it, a pulsating beat that drummed with a steady rhythm.’
      • ‘A soft rumble of thunder rolled from the sky and the rain began to quicken, drumming on the roof in a strange, oddly comforting rhythm.’
      • ‘The twins continued sitting there, their hearts drumming anxiously.’
      • ‘As evening approached, the rain persisted, streaking the windowpanes and drumming rhythmically against the rooftop.’
      • ‘Alex drummed on the table with his thumbs, and then looked up at his troubled friend.’
      • ‘Jean said: ‘He started drumming on plastic buckets on the lawn when he was about two.’’
      • ‘Hooves drummed against the packed earth and the horses raced as fast as their legs could carry them.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Beat (the fingers, feet, etc.) repeatedly on a surface, especially as a sign of impatience or annoyance.
      ‘waiting around an empty table, drumming their fingers’
      • ‘Waiting to be served a beer, Tom Fiore drums his fingers impatiently on the polished countertop.’
      • ‘Karl put away the cleaning supplies and walked over to sit next to the phone, staring at it while drumming his fingers repeatedly on the desk.’
      • ‘I quickly dialed the number and impatiently drummed my fingers on my bedpost as the phone rang.’
      • ‘I was there a minute or two, just tapped my feet nervously and drumming my fingers on the steering wheel to some unknown beat.’
      • ‘He drummed the fingers of his free hand against the counter impatiently.’
      • ‘Ava sat on the edge of the bed, twirling her hair around her fingers, and Damien drummed his feet against the headboard.’
      • ‘Mike sat at the empty seat next to me and drummed his fingers on the table looking extremely bored.’
      • ‘She fidgeted constantly, tapping her foot, drumming her fingers on her leg, or plucking at her newly straightened hair.’
      • ‘Either they were humming along or tapping their feet or were drumming their fingers.’
      • ‘Kiara waited for a reply, drumming her fingers on the railing of the stairs impatiently.’
      • ‘She impatiently drummed her fingers on the armrests and stared down her nose as the girl limped forward.’
      • ‘He scowled at the computer screen in front of him, drumming his fingers on the desk impatiently.’
      • ‘Adrian drummed his fingers on his thighs, impatient and nervous.’
      • ‘Absentmindedly I tapped my foot and drummed my fingers.’
      • ‘The girl held a small, black cell phone to her ear and listened to a dial tone, drumming her fingers impatiently.’
      • ‘She started the car and pulled into Andreas' driveway, drumming her fingers impatiently on the side of the door as she waited for him.’
      • ‘She drummed her fingers impatiently against the smooth surface of the table, eyes watching the baristas as they made drink after drink.’
      • ‘She ordered a white wine from a passing waiter, drumming her fingers on the table restlessly.’
      • ‘Paige drummed her fingers impatiently against her thighs, tapping her foot against the floor of the car.’
      • ‘He drummed his fingers impatiently on her desk awaiting an answer.’
    3. 1.3(of a woodpecker) strike the bill rapidly on a dead trunk or branch, especially as a sound indicating a territorial claim.
      • ‘On Jan. 27, searchers recorded pairs of loud raps, as if a huge woodpecker were drumming on a hollow tree.’
      • ‘Great-spotted woodpeckers drum while chiffchaffs, blackcaps, chaffinches and wrens sing their hearts out.’
      • ‘They are often detected by their foraging taps, bark prying, and drumming.’
      • ‘Woodpeckers are drumming, sparrows are singing, and around the North Shore people are venturing out into their yards to garden.’
      • ‘I listened to great spotted woodpeckers drumming on the trunks of trees.’
    4. 1.4(of a snipe) vibrate the outer tail feathers in a diving display flight, making a throbbing sound.
      • ‘The male takes no part in incubation, continuing drumming displays over the nesting territory.’
      • ‘A buzzard, high above, hung on the thermals and the sound of drumming snipe reminded me that this, after all, was summer.’
      • ‘The next morning, drumming snipe provide my wake-up call, and, in soft sunshine, I wander down to the shore.’
      • ‘Other breeding waders include 19 drumming snipe, 3 pairs of dunlin and 4 pairs of ringed plover.’

Phrases

  • beat (or bang) the drum for (or against)

    • Be ostentatiously in support of (or in opposition to)

      ‘he limited campaign contributions in order to beat the drum against political action committees’
      ‘he bangs the drum of the free market’
      • ‘What we have here, not unexpectedly, is a publisher banging the drum for his book.’
      • ‘Mr Baker added: ‘People do knock Bradford, there is a lot of doom- and gloom-mongering, but we are banging the drum for the city.’’
      • ‘Deputy chair of Scottish Enterprise, he bangs the drum for business formation, pushing resources into the best growth prospects.’
      • ‘They should be… balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other.’
      • ‘And I'll continue to beat the drum for those companies and agencies brave enough to push the proverbial envelope.’
      • ‘She said: ‘It is absolutely vital we have an assembly with political clout which can bang the drum for the region over transport.’’
      • ‘Tom Wilson will keep banging the drum for Prestwick regardless of what happens this week.’
      • ‘Eyre certainly suffers his share of trials, however, and is often exhausted by the constant pressure of banging the drum for subsidised theatre.’
      • ‘Now we have to got to beat the drum of English Heritage.’
      • ‘While Hewitt bangs the drum for Edinburgh, he lives in Glasgow's west end.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • drum something into

    • Drive a lesson into (someone) by constant repetition.

      ‘it had been drummed into them to dress correctly’
      • ‘Some people say I'm like a parrot, because I keep trying to drum good habits into players, day after day.’
      • ‘This is far more powerful and persuasive as propaganda than anything that could be achieved by crude state power directly drumming its message into the heads of the population.’
      • ‘The manners we learn as kids are drummed into our heads by rote, much like multiplication tables.’
      • ‘Manchester United legend Paddy Crerand never had any careers advice - his teachers had to drag him from the football pitch to drum some education into him.’
      • ‘Daniel watched all that and he learned from it and I drummed it into him not to make the mistakes I made.’
      • ‘Somebody's got to drum some sense into that thick skull of yours.’
      • ‘For drumming this lethal message into our heads media commissars are rewarded with lavish salaries, status and privilege.’
      • ‘Those words have been drummed into schoolchildren for decades.’
      • ‘I've never agreed that you just play out the end of the season and I've been drumming the message into the players all week.’
      • ‘Later, talking of the need to drum instructions into players, he recalls, as he does elsewhere, a recorded message in a New York lift repeating the words ‘mind the stairs‘.’
      instil, drive, drive home, din, hammer, drill, drub, implant, ingrain, inculcate
      View synonyms
  • drum someone out

    • Expel or dismiss someone with ignominy from a place or institution.

      ‘he was drummed out of the air force’
      • ‘The Labour MP could be told today whether he will be drummed out of the party over his anti-war comments.’
      • ‘Asked why Ford was not drummed out of the British Army Heath retorted, ‘I am not responsible for discipline in the British Army.’’
      • ‘Many senior leaders would've screamed at the younger captain, maybe even drummed him out of the Corps for grumbling at an order.’
      • ‘The Rugby League Professionals Association has now questioned the way Tilse was drummed out of the game.’
      • ‘Though she was drummed out of the service, she convinced the guards to let her have ‘one last stroll’ through the base.’
      • ‘Born to a farming family in Howsham in 1800, he was drummed out of the community aged 15 for fathering an illegitimate child.’
      • ‘The major must wait to discover whether he will be drummed out of the British Army, pending an internal investigation, while it's probable Whittock will lose his job as well.’
      • ‘Young Tenryu had been drummed out of the sport in the early 1930's after attempting to reform the antiquated system.’
      • ‘He had been a senior chief petty officer when he was drummed out of the service for improper use of Navy resources.’
      • ‘I suspect he thought I intended to cut off his uniform buttons and drum him out of the service then and there.’
      expel from, dismiss from, discharge from, throw out of, oust from
      drive out of, get rid of, thrust out of, push out of
      exclude from, banish from
      cashier
      give someone the boot, boot out, kick out, give someone their marching orders, give someone the bullet, give someone the push, show someone the door, send packing
      View synonyms
  • drum something up

    • Attempt to obtain something by canvassing or soliciting.

      ‘the organizers are hoping to drum up support from local businesses’
      • ‘He could drum up the support of the municipal council for the trailblazing idea.’
      • ‘He will take to the airwaves this morning to drum up support for Clarke.’
      • ‘Critics say the federal alcohol agents are exaggerating the problem to drum up publicity and financial backing.’
      • ‘He said that once sufficient public support was drummed up, the organization would file a class action suit against the government if it continued to refuse to reverse its policy.’
      • ‘Very little prior knowledge is needed to read this book - but I do presuppose some interest on the part of the reader rather than trying to drum it up myself.’
      • ‘At first I thought Steve had conjured up the entire brouhaha to drum up publicity, but no.’
      • ‘Two Swindon musicians have decided to drum up business doing what they do best.’
      • ‘Maybe it was really an effort to drum up business among our fellow northerners.’
      • ‘"She could just be here to drum up business, " he said.’
      • ‘Training was revolutionised and Hayes worked relentlessly on drumming up enthusiasm for the team around the county.’
      • ‘We are launching it on the market this week and hope that it drums up interest in the property.’
      round up, gather, collect
      summon, obtain, get, attract
      canvass, solicit, petition, bid for
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Middle Dutch or Low German tromme, of imitative origin.

Pronunciation:

drum

/drəm/

Main definitions of drum in English

: drum1drum2drum3

drum2

noun

Irish, Scottish
  • A long narrow hill, especially one separating two parallel valleys.

Origin

Early 18th century: from Scottish Gaelic and Irish druim ridge.

Pronunciation:

drum

/drəm/

Main definitions of drum in English

: drum1drum2drum3

drum3

(also drumfish)

noun

  • A fish that makes a drumming sound by vibrating its swim bladder, found mainly in estuarine and shallow coastal waters.

    Also called croaker
    • ‘The bay was sandy-green with marginal visibility but clarity was not a major issue because drum primarily are scent feeders.’

Pronunciation:

drum

/drəm/