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[druhm] /drʌm/
noun, plural drums, (especially collectively for 11) drum.
a musical percussion instrument consisting of a hollow, usually cylindrical, body covered at one or both ends with a tightly stretched membrane, or head, which is struck with the hand, a stick, or a pair of sticks, and typically produces a booming, tapping, or hollow sound.
any hollow tree or similar object or device used in this way.
the sound produced by such an instrument, object, or device.
any rumbling or deep booming sound.
a natural organ by which an animal produces a loud or bass sound.
any cylindrical object with flat ends.
a cylindrical part of a machine.
a cylindrical box or receptacle, especially a large, metal one for storing or transporting liquids.
Also called tambour. Architecture.
  1. any of several cylindrical or nearly cylindrical stones laid one above the other to form a column or pier.
  2. a cylindrical or faceted construction supporting a dome.
any of several marine and freshwater fishes of the family Sciaenidae that produce a drumming sound.
Also called drum memory. Computers. magnetic drum.
Archaic. an assembly of fashionable people at a private house in the evening.
a person who plays the drum.
Australian Informal. reliable, confidential, or profitable information:
to give someone the drum.
verb (used without object), drummed, drumming.
to beat or play a drum.
to beat on anything rhythmically, especially to tap one's fingers rhythmically on a hard surface.
to make a sound like that of a drum; resound.
(of ruffed grouse and other birds) to produce a sound resembling drumming.
verb (used with object), drummed, drumming.
to beat (a drum) rhythmically; perform by beating a drum:
to drum a rhythm for dancers.
to call or summon by, or as if by, beating a drum.
to drive or force by persistent repetition:
to drum an idea into someone.
to fill a drum with; store in a drum:
to drum contaminated water and dispose of it.
Verb phrases
drum out,
  1. (formerly) to expel or dismiss from a military service in disgrace to the beat of a drum.
  2. to dismiss in disgrace:
    He was drummed out of the university for his gambling activities.
drum up,
  1. to call or summon by, or as if by, beating a drum.
  2. to obtain or create (customers, trade, interest, etc.) through vigorous effort:
    They were unable to drum up enthusiasm for the new policies.
  3. to concoct; devise:
    to drum up new methods of dealing with urban crime.
beat the drum, to promote, publicize, or advertise:
The boss is out beating the drum for a new product.
Origin of drum1
1535-45; back formation from drumslade drum, drummer, alteration of Dutch or Low German trommelslag drumbeat, equivalent to trommel drum + slag beat (akin to slagen to beat; cognate with slay)
Related forms
underdrumming, noun


[druhm] /drʌm/
noun, Scot., Irish English
a long, narrow hill or ridge.
1715-25; < Irish and Scots Gaelic druim Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for drum
  • IN the old wars drum of hoofs and the beat of shod feet.
  • It also had a drum sound that would beat each time the total population increased by some amount.
  • Then the drum-beat of anticipation ended in a clash of publicity's cymbals.
  • They will continue to beat this drum, have no doubt.
  • If their team is off to a fast start, the drum beat is loud.
  • One individual would get on top of the drum with help from his partner.
  • Watch dancers perform traditional dances to the rhythms of northern- and southern-style drum groups.
  • Lots of folks were calling for the revolution, beating the drum of an economic expansion spurred by green innovation.
  • So he has spent much of his tenure traveling to drum up political support for polio eradication.
  • It consists of a thin layer of photoconductive material that is applied to a flexible belt or drum.
British Dictionary definitions for drum


(music) a percussion instrument sounded by striking a membrane stretched across the opening of a hollow cylinder or hemisphere
(informal) beat the drum for, to attempt to arouse interest in
the sound produced by a drum or any similar sound
an object that resembles a drum in shape, such as a large spool or a cylindrical container
  1. one of a number of cylindrical blocks of stone used to construct the shaft of a column
  2. the wall or structure supporting a dome or cupola
short for eardrum
Also called drumfish. any of various North American marine and freshwater sciaenid fishes, such as Equetus pulcher (striped drum), that utter a drumming sound
a type of hollow rotor for steam turbines or axial compressors
(computing) a rotating cylindrical device on which data may be stored for later retrieval: now mostly superseded by disks See disk (sense 2)
(archaic) a drummer
(Austral, informal) the drum, the necessary information (esp in the phrase give (someone) the drum)
verb drums, drumming, drummed
to play (music) on or as if on a drum
to beat or tap (the fingers) rhythmically or regularly
(intransitive) (of birds) to produce a rhythmic sound, as by beating the bill against a tree, branch, etc
(transitive) sometimes foll by up. to summon or call by drumming
(transitive) to instil by constant repetition: to drum an idea into someone's head
See also drum out, drum up
Word Origin
C16: probably from Middle Dutch tromme, of imitative origin


(Scot & Irish) a narrow ridge or hill
Word Origin
C18: from Scottish Gaelic druim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for drum

1540s, probably from Middle Dutch tromme "drum," common Germanic (cf. German Trommel, Danish tromme, Swedish trumma), probably of imitative origin. Not common before 1570s. Slightly older, and more common at first, was drumslade, apparently from Dutch or Low German trommelslag. Machinery sense attested from 1740, from similarity of shape.


1570s, from drum (n.). To drum (up) business, etc., is American English 1839, from the old way of drawing a crowd.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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drum in Medicine

drum (drŭm)
See eardrum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for drum


Related Terms

beat the drum

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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drum in Technology

Ancient slow, cylindrical magnetic media that were once state-of-the-art storage devices. Under BSD Unix the disk partition used for swapping is still called "/dev/drum"; this has led to considerable humour and not a few straight-faced but utterly bogus "explanations" getting foisted on newbies.
See also "The Story of Mel".

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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