General English

General Science

  • noun a cylindrical container used for storage, especially of liquids


  • noun the cylinder of a combine harvester, which rotates and has rasp-like beater bars which thresh the grain


  • noun a cylindrical device, often with closed ends

Cars & Driving

  • noun a circular container, especially a brake drum


  • noun an early type of magnetic computer storage


  • One of the stone cylinders forming a column.
  • The wall supporting a dome.
  • The rotating cylinder used to wind up cable on a hoist.
  • The cylinder in which transit-mixed concrete is transported, mixed, and agitated.


  • Something whose shape resembles that of a drum.
  • An early type of data-storage device, which consisted of a cylinder coated with a magnetic material, and whose tracks each had their own read/write head. Also called drum storage, or magnetic drum.
  • A rotating drum used in electrostatic printing, such as that employed by a laser printer to retain a charge.


  • The general class of fish which make drumming noises using their air bladders. Similar to croaker.


  • noun a musical instrument consisting of a cylinder, closed at each end with skin or plastic, which the player beats with two sticks
  • noun a cylindrical container designed to contain liquid (such as oil, petrol)
  • noun a cylindrical magazine for certain types of machine-gun


  • noun a house, home or building. The word, which is used especially in police and underworld circles, may come from the Romany word drom, meaning ‘highway’, but is possibly a back-formation from drummer, referring to someone who knocks (‘drums’) on people’s doors, either to buy or sell goods or to find somewhere unoccupied to rob. In the past the word has also meant ‘prison cell’ and ‘brothel’, especially in Canada and Australia respectively.
  • noun a tip, piece of information or news, probably from the notion of ‘jungle drums’

Origin & History of “drum”

Belying the total lack of similarity between the instruments, drum, trumpet, and trombone seem to be closely related. Drum appears to be a shortening of a slightly earlier English word drumslade ‘drum, drummer’, which was borrowed from Low German trommelslag ‘drumbeat’. This was a compound noun formed from trommel ‘drum’ and slag ‘hit’ (related to English slay). An alternative view is that English simply acquired the word from middle Dutch tromme. both these Germanic forms meant simply ‘drum’, but the picture becomes more complex with Middle high German tromme ‘drum’, for originally this had the sense ‘trumpet’, and what is more it had a variant form trumbe (its ancestor, Old High German trumpa, ultimate source of English trumpet and trombone, only meant ‘trumpet’). So the picture that emerges is of a word that originally referred in a fairly undifferentiated way to any musical instrument that made a loud noise.