The word Rudiment comes from the word "Rudimentary". Rudimentary is defined as, "being or involving basic facts or principles" or "being in the earliest stages of development". So to apply this to drumming, drum rudiments are the basic principles (actually, "sticking patterns") that help set the foundation of drumming.

Drum Rudiments are sticking patterns. Either right, left, right, left (RLRL) or right, right, left, left (RRLL). The first of these is called a single stroke roll (RLRL) and the second example is a double stroke roll (RRLL). There are 40 "official" rudiments, established by the Percussion Arts Society (PAS) and even more non-official rudiments developed over the years (many by drum corp members). These extra rudiments are usually referred to as "hybrid rudiments".

Example of Paradiddle Drum Rudiment:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dst0AdVB21Q"]YouTube- Drum Rudiments #16 - Single Paradiddle - DrumRudiments.com[/ame]

There are several drum rudiment books and dvds on the market. Some are very basic and others more advanced. A more advanced rudiments book might cover how the drum rudiments are applied to drumset playing as opposed to just one surface like a practice pad or snare drum.