A drum is a musical instrument that you play by hitting it rhythmically with a stick or your hand. Most drums are round, with a thin material stretched tightly over the ends.

Some drums, like the West African djembe, are played with bare hands by a drummer who plays just one drum at a time. Others are found in a drum kit, often part of a rock band or a jazz ensemble, which might include a bass drum, a snare drum, cymbals, and a tom-tom — or even more. The word drum is also a verb, meaning "to play a drum," and can also mean "a cylinder-shaped container."

Definitions of drum

n a musical percussion instrument; usually consists of a hollow cylinder with a membrane stretched across each end

membranophone, tympan
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
bass drum, gran casa
a large drum with two heads; makes a sound of indefinite but very low pitch
bongo, bongo drum
a small drum; played with the hands
side drum, snare, snare drum
a small drum with two heads and a snare stretched across the lower head
tabor, tabour
a small drum with one head of soft calfskin
a drum
a shallow drum with a single drumhead and with metallic disks in the sides
tenor drum, tom-tom
any of various drums with small heads
small hand drum similar to a tambourine; formerly carried by itinerant jugglers
Type of:
percussion instrument, percussive instrument
a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by one object striking another

n a bulging cylindrical shape; hollow with flat ends

Type of:
a surface generated by rotating a parallel line around a fixed line

n the sound of a drum

“he could hear the drums before he heard the fifes”
Type of:
the sudden occurrence of an audible event

n a cylindrical metal container used for shipping or storage of liquids

metal drum
Type of:
an object used as a container (especially for liquids)

n a hollow cast-iron cylinder attached to the wheel that forms part of the brakes

brake drum
Type of:
a surface generated by rotating a parallel line around a fixed line

n small to medium-sized bottom-dwelling food and game fishes of shallow coastal and fresh waters that make a drumming noise

show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
Equetus pulcher, striped drum
a kind of drumfish
Equetus lanceolatus, jackknife-fish
black-and-white drumfish with an erect elongated dorsal fin
Bairdiella chrysoura, mademoiselle, silver perch
small silvery drumfish often mistaken for white perch; found along coasts of United States from New York to Mexico
Sciaenops ocellatus, channel bass, red drum, redfish
large edible fish found off coast of United States from Massachusetts to Mexico
Type of:
sciaenid, sciaenid fish
widely distributed family of carnivorous percoid fishes having a large air bladder used to produce sound

v make a rhythmic sound

“Rain drummed against the windshield”
beat, thrum
indicate by beating, as with the fingers or drumsticks
Type of:
go, sound
make a certain noise or sound

v play a percussion instrument

Type of:
perform music on (a musical instrument)

v study intensively, as before an exam

bone, bone up, cram, get up, grind away, mug up, swot, swot up
prepare (students) hastily for an impending exam
Type of:
hit the books, study
learn by reading books

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.