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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.

any of several cylindrical or nearly cylindrical stones laid one above the other to form a column or pier.
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.
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.
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.
drum out,

(formerly) to expel or dismiss from a military service in disgrace to the beat of a drum.
to dismiss in disgrace:
He was drummed out of the university for his gambling activities.

drum up,

to call or summon by, or as if by, beating a drum.
to obtain or create (customers, trade, interest, etc.) through vigorous effort:
They were unable to drum up enthusiasm for the new policies.
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.
a long, narrow hill or ridge.
Contemporary Examples

Reason No. 1—drum roll, please—was: “Secret Service code name: Buttafuoco.”
Bonfire of the Inanities Christopher Buckley March 21, 2009

Erick Murillo, their buddy from Greenville, North Carolina, joined them on drum machines.
Future Islands Frontman Samuel T. Herring on Their 11-Year Journey to Letterman and Viral Stardom Marlow Stern April 2, 2014

Howard Kurtz on the conservative campaign to drum up support for the divisive congressman.
Rupert Murdoch Gets His Man As Mitt Romney Picks Paul Ryan Howard Kurtz August 11, 2012

The real clincher, though, is that their only instruments are a drum set and dozens of beer bottles.
The Olympics Have Always Been a Little Gay and More Viral Videos Ariana Dickey February 7, 2014

But now he can bang the drum on something that appeals deeply to these folks.
Why the IRS Scandal Matters Justin Green May 13, 2013

Historical Examples

When it entered, the drum beat a Saracen rhythm and there was music again.
Castellinaria Henry Festing Jones

The line extends from the drum to the flying or gliding machine.
Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

In the confusion a dog scampers into the midst and barks furiously at the drum.
Rembrandt Estelle M. Hurll

It consists of a tympanum or drum, having a stylus attached as in the phonograph.
Heroes of the Telegraph J. Munro

The Castle head vanished, and the sounds of the drum and bugle of the tattoo came down muffled, as if through layers of wool.
Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson

(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

one of a number of cylindrical blocks of stone used to construct the shaft of a column
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
(Scot & Irish) a narrow ridge or hill

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.

drum (drŭm)
See eardrum.

Related Terms

beat the drum

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”.


Read Also:

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    something that has ceased to be useful or relevant. beat / flog a dead horse, to persist in pursuing or trying to revive interest in a project or subject that has lost its usefulness or relevance. Contemporary Examples So when the Today show staged a flash mob earlier this month, it had the effect of […]

  • Beatified

    to make blissfully happy. Roman Catholic Church. to declare (a deceased person) to be among the blessed and thus entitled to specific religious honor. Contemporary Examples On that day, the family of a severely ill Costa Rican woman reportedly prayed to the beatified pontiff for her recovery. After Second Approved Miracle, Pope John Paul II […]

  • Beating

    the act of a person or thing that beats, as to punish, clean, mix, etc.: Give the rug a good beating. a defeat or reverse; loss; setback: Several stocks took a beating in the market today. pulsation; throbbing: the beating of her heart. to strike violently or forcefully and repeatedly. to dash against: rain beating […]

  • Beatinest

    most remarkable or unusual: This is the beatinest town I ever did see.

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