from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various viscous substances that are exuded by certain plants and trees and dry into water-soluble, noncrystalline, brittle solids.
  • noun A similar plant exudate, such as a resin.
  • noun Any of various adhesives made from such exudates or other sticky substance.
  • noun A substance resembling the viscous substance exuded by certain plants, as in stickiness.
  • noun Any of various trees, especially of the genera Eucalyptus and Liquidambar, that are sources of gum.
  • noun The wood of such a tree; gumwood.
  • noun Chewing gum.
  • intransitive verb To cover, smear, seal, fill, or fix in place with gum.
  • intransitive verb To exude or form gum.
  • intransitive verb To become sticky or clogged.
  • noun The firm connective tissue covered by mucous membrane that envelops the alveolar arches of the jaw and surrounds the bases of the teeth.
  • transitive verb To chew (food) with toothless gums.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To use a gummer upon; gullet (a saw); widen the spaces between the teeth of (a worn saw) by punching or grinding.
  • noun The sorrel-tree, Oxydendrum arboreum.
  • noun The cider-gum or cider-tree, Eucalyptus Gunnii.
  • noun The water-tupelo (which see).
  • noun The sweet gum, Liquidambar Styraciflua.
  • noun The black- or sour-gum, Nyssa syivatica.
  • To smear with gum; unite, stiffen, or clog by gum or a gum-like substance.
  • To play a trick upon; humbug; hoodwink: said to be from the fact that opossums and racoons often elude hunters and dogs by hiding in the thick foliage of gum-trees.
  • To exude or form gum. See gumming
  • To become clogged or stiffened by some gummy substance, as inspissated oil: as, a machine will gum up from disuse.
  • noun The soft tissues, consisting of a vascular mucous membrane, subjacent dense connective tissue, and periosteum, which cover the alveolar parts of the upper and lower jaws and envelop the necks of the teeth.
  • noun Hence The edge of the jaw; the part of one of the jaws in which the teeth are set, or over which the tissues close after the loss of teeth: generally used in the plural: as, the toothless gums of old age.
  • noun plural The grinders; molars.
  • noun Insolent talk; “jaw”; insolence.
  • noun Same as gummer.
  • noun A product of secretion obtained by desiccation from the sap of many plants.
  • noun A form of dextrine produced by roasting starch: specifically called artificial or British gum.
  • noun One of various species of trees, especially of the genera Eucalyptus, of Australia, and Nyssa, of the United States.
  • noun Same as gumming
  • noun A bubble; a pimple. Compare red-gum, white-gum.
  • noun plural India-rubber overshoes: more commonly called rubbers.
  • noun A section of a hollow log or tree (usually a gum-tree) used to form a small well-curb, or to make a beehive. —

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To deepen and enlarge the spaces between the teeth of (a worn saw). See gummer.
  • noun The dense tissues which invest the teeth, and cover the adjacent parts of the jaws.
  • noun (Med.) strophulus in a teething child; red gum.
  • noun a smooth hard substance for children to bite upon while teething.
  • transitive verb To smear with gum; to close with gum; to unite or stiffen by gum or a gumlike substance; to make sticky with a gumlike substance.
  • transitive verb To chew with the gums, rather than with the teeth.
  • transitive verb [Slang] to interfere with; to spoil.
  • intransitive verb To exude or form gum; to become gummy.
  • noun A vegetable secretion of many trees or plants that hardens when it exudes, but is soluble in water. Also, with less propriety, exudations that are not soluble in water.
  • noun (Bot.) See Gum tree, below.
  • noun Southern U. S. A hive made of a section of a hollow gum tree; hence, any roughly made hive; also, a vessel or bin made of a hollow log.
  • noun Local, U. S. A rubber overshoe.
  • noun See under Black, Blue, etc.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English gomme, from Old French, from Late Latin gumma, variant of Latin gummi, cummi, from Greek kommi, perhaps from Egyptian ḳmj-t.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English gome, from Old English gōma, palate, jaw.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English gome, from Old English gōma 'palate', from Proto-Germanic *gōmô (“palate”) (compare German Gaumen, Old Norse gómr whence Icelandic gómur), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰh₂u-mo- (compare Tocharian A ... (ko), Tocharian B ... (koyṃ) 'mouth', Lithuanian gomurỹs 'palate'), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰeh₂w- (“to gape, yawn”). More at yawn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English gomme, gumme, from Anglo-Norman gome, from Late Latin gumma, from Latin cummi, gummi, from Ancient Greek κόμμι (kómmi), from Egyptian ḳmj-t (qemỵt, qemài) 'acanthus resin'.


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  • This week the Volunteer Ladies were

    making Grandmother bake scones;

        then, with a nice cup of tea,

        they let her gum one, still warm,

    golden-brown luxury, scrumptiously

    melting thickly-spread butter.

        Oh, she had always loved scones.

        This was her best treat for years.

    Coroner Crawford-Clarke said that her

    food had lodged in her larynx.

        'This would bring on very quick

        sudden death.' I ate the rest.

    - Peter Reading, Going On, 1985

    June 19, 2009