Definition of tom-tom in English:

tom-tom

noun

  • 1A medium-sized cylindrical drum, of which one to three may be used in a drum kit.

    • ‘One or more floor tom-toms followed and by 1940 the drum kit had reached its present form, though any number of peripheral instruments may be added by the player.’
    • ‘The opening song marches back and forth, back and forth on the tom-toms, while guitar chords are smacked awake.’
    • ‘He started the concert by drumming with his hands on a tom-tom, eventually progressing to the entire kit.’
    • ‘As for the drummer, suffice it to say he took it to another level with a much bigger kit, flying around the tom-toms and engaging in fierce double-bass song finales.’
    • ‘There's still no sign of synthesizers, but there are lots of tom-toms.’
    • ‘She batters her tom-toms at a tempo either ahead of or behind the guitars and vocals.’
    • ‘The basic track featured Lennon on acoustic guitar, his vocal and a tom-tom (all recorded onto one track), with Harrison playing a tamboura.’
    • ‘The snare drum takes precedence as the piano enters; tom-toms come in when the sax solo begins.’
    • ‘The piece, scored for four percussionists, is played by the group using a big array of gongs, tam-tams, tom-toms, suspended brake drums and so on, but is neither bombastic nor boring.’
    • ‘Then the piano comes in, plays a little vamp for two bars, is then joined by tom-toms for another two bars before the vocals come in.’
    • ‘However, every time Rudolph turned his back, the band (in their usual mischievous way) would surreptitiously displace a tom-tom or a speaker, causing Roddy to become increasingly agitated.’
    • ‘Each time the teacher beats a tom-tom, a picture of a different animal is shown.’
    • ‘Suddenly he kneels down, places the remaining snare, cymbal, and tom-tom on the floor in a cluster, and begins to play his ‘broken’ drums, more interested in the set that he's created than in the one we bought.’
    1. 1.1A drum beaten with the hands, associated with North American Indian, African, or Eastern cultures.
      • ‘He struggled to walk onto the stage but played flute, tenor and alto sax, police whistle, African tom-toms and cow-bell with enviable vigour and verve.’
      • ‘She reinforces this hackneyed portrait by evoking African tom-toms.’
      • ‘Indian ceremonies, tom-toms, cheers, costumes, and painted faces may be part of their traditions.’
      • ‘They even held a drumming session teaching youngsters how to play the tom-tom and bongos.’
      • ‘Thai cultural activities are also part of the program, and this includes learning musical instruments and tom-toms.’
      • ‘We went to a fair-trade import store and bought him a handmade tom-tom made of wood and hide with a lovely wooden drumstick.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, water is blowing in through the tepee's door, drenching the tom-toms and blankets.’

verb

[with object]Indian
  • Proclaim or boast about.

    ‘the government tom-tommed a 40 per cent turnout of the state's electorate’
    • ‘She's the latest to join the bandwagon, tom-tomming to the world the benefits of going veggie.’
    • ‘They tom-tom schemes which citizens seldom hear later.’
    • ‘Any amount of tom-tomming about the city being a hi-tech one cannot hide the fact that we are indeed living in a jungle.’
    • ‘However, nobody should have the temerity to mix any of these millions of potential sources of pharmaceuticals with modern medicinal products and tom-tom it as a discovery.’

Origin

Late 17th century from Hindi ṭam ṭam, Telugu ṭamaṭama, of imitative origin.

Pronunciation

tom-tom

/ˈtɒmtɒm/