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1. To work to gain or incite something, often interest or support. A noun or pronoun can be used between "drum" and "up." What else can we do to drum up more support for our campaign? I try to drum up enthusiasm for trigonometry, but my students are just not interested.
2. To create or devise something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "drum" and "up." We need to drum up a story before mom gets home and sees the vase we broke.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
drum something up
to obtain something by attracting people's attention to one's need or cause. I shall try to drum up support for the party. You shall have to drum up new business by advertising. I need to do something to drum some business up.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Bring about by persistent effort, as in I'm trying to drum up more customers, or We have to drum up support for this amendment. This expression alludes to making repeated drumbeats. [Mid-1800s]
2. Devise, invent, obtain, as in He hoped to drum up an alibi. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To bring something about by continuous, persistent effort: The advertising firm drummed up new business for us. The manager tried to drum interest up in the computer training classes.
2. To obtain or resourcefully put together something that one needs; come up with something: The witness drummed up an alibi during the trial. We drummed some volunteers up for the project.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To gather, to summon. Alluding to summoning recruits by beating a drum, this term has been used figuratively since the 1600s. It is often used in a business sense, as it was by Thomas Gray in a letter of 1849: “I will then drum up subscribers for Fendler.” An antonym is to drum out, meaning to dismiss or oust. In the military this, too, was signaled by beating a drum. This came to mean being fired from a job but is not heard as often today.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer