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[plek-truh m] /ˈplɛk trəm/
noun, plural plectra
[plek-truh] /ˈplɛk trə/ (Show IPA),
a small piece of plastic, metal, ivory, etc., for plucking the strings of a guitar, lyre, mandolin, etc.
Anatomy, Zoology. an anatomical part resembling a plectrum in shape.
1620-30; < Latin plēctrum < Greek plêktron Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for plectrum
  • If the crosspiece were as taut and unyielding as he was at that moment, a single stroke of the plectrum would break it.
  • They have four to six steel strings, and are usually played with a plectrum.
British Dictionary definitions for plectrum


noun (pl) -trums, -tra (-trə)
any implement for plucking a string, such as a small piece of plastic, wood, etc, used to strum a guitar, or the quill that plucks the string of a harpsichord
Word Origin
C17: from Latin plēctrum quill, plectrum, from Greek plektron, from plessein to strike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for plectrum

something used to pluck the strings of a musical instrument, 1620s, from Latin plectrum, from Greek plektron "thing to strike with" (pick for a lyre, cock's spur, spear point, etc.), from plek-, root of plessein "to strike" (see plague (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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