plectrum

[plek-truhm]
noun, plural plectra [plek-truh] , plectrums.
1.
a small piece of plastic, metal, ivory, etc., for plucking the strings of a guitar, lyre, mandolin, etc.
2.
Anatomy, Zoology. an anatomical part resembling a plectrum in shape.

Origin:
1620–30; < Latin plēctrum < Greek plêktron

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World English Dictionary
plectrum (ˈplɛktrəm)
 
n , pl -trums, -tra
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
 
[C17: from Latin plēctrum quill, plectrum, from Greek plektron, from plessein to strike]

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Word Origin & History

plectrum
1626, from L. plectrum, from Gk. plektron "thing to strike with" (pick for a lyre, cock's supr, spear point, etc.), from plek-, root of plessein "to strike."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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