strum up support

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Sun Feb 17 12:50:15 UTC 2008

Drum up also makes sense, whereas strum up does not. Everyone from military
recruiters to snake oil salesmen has been drawing crowds for centuries by
running around town beating on drums. That's why the expression "to drum up"
has been around for a couple centuries at least and why "strum up" is no
more than a (perhaps oft-repeated) malaprop, or a phrase used to comedic
effect referring to rock bands and such. On the other hand, I suppose you
could imagine a minstrel walking about, strumming up support; or a group of
porn stars cumming up support; or a group of idiots dumbing up support; or a
group of incompetents gumming up support; or an a cappella choir group
humming up support; or...

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Dennis Preston
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2008 9:20 PM

You must be an anarchist! "Drum up" is traditional, preferred,
correct. Not reason enough!


>I was curious what the preferred version might be, so I found the entry
>at, where it says
>that "drum up" is considered correct.
>I don't think that's enough to make me stop using "strum up," though. Is
>there a specific reason why strum up support is dispreferred? It's still
>using a musical instrument and it sounds better since it employs
>Andrea Morrow wrote:
>>  >From a CNN article today on Chelsea Clinton's role in the
>>presidential campaign:
>>  Chelsea Clinton will spend three days there to strum up last-minute
>>  votes before the state's Tuesday caucuses, said a source from her
>>  mother's campaign.
>>  A quick google search for "strum up support" turns up over a million
>>  hits, but most are obvious plays on words (a rock musician strums up
>>  support for his show, etc.)
>>  I see this usage is already in the eggcorn database, but it's the
>>  first time I've seen it, and it seemed worth mentioning.
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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