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Run a drum

Posted by Pamela on December 04, 2008 at 23:39

In Reply to: Run a drum posted by Baceseras on November 29, 2008 at 20:05:

: : Please explain the horse racing term 'Run a drum'.

: Baker's Dictionary of Australian Slang gives "drum" as "a racecourse tip" - so tell me, is it the horse, or the tipster, that "runs" the drum? - Bac.

From the Australian National University: "In the early twentieth century the term drum in Australian English came to mean 'a reliable piece of information', probably deriving from the signal given out by the percussion instrument. It often appears in the phrases to get the drum or to give the drum, and usually in racing contexts: 'It beats me how the punters get the drum ; 'I got the drum on the way out to the races' . From this developed the phrase to run a drum meaning '(of a racehorse) to perform as tipped'. The phrase is now almost invariably used in the negative - he didn't run a drum meaning the horse didn't perform as tipped. Some commentators see the influence of rhyming slang here, and suggest that drum is also an abbreviation of drum and mace rhyming slang for 'place'. Thus a horse that doesn't run a drum fails to run a place."

The only use of "drum" I've personally heard is "I'll give you the drum" meaning I'll give you the information that is vital. In terms of tone, it is often said as a warning. Pamela