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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The flesh round the teeth.
  • v. To chew, especially of a toothless person or animal.
  • n. Any of various viscous or sticky substances that are exuded by certain plants.
  • n. Any viscous or sticky substance resembling those that are exuded by certain plants.
  • n. Chewing gum.
  • n. A single piece of chewing gum.
  • v. To apply an adhesive or gum to.
  • v. To impair the functioning of a thing or process.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The dense tissues which invest the teeth, and cover the adjacent parts of the jaws.
  • n. 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.
  • n. See Gum tree, below.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A rubber overshoe.
  • intransitive v. To exude or form gum; to become gummy.
  • transitive v. To deepen and enlarge the spaces between the teeth of (a worn saw). See gummer.
  • transitive v. 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 v. To chew with the gums, rather than with the teeth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To use a gummer upon; gullet (a saw); widen the spaces between the teeth of (a worn saw) by punching or grinding.
  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. plural The grinders; molars.
  • n. Insolent talk; “jaw”; insolence.
  • n. Same as gummer.
  • n. A product of secretion obtained by desiccation from the sap of many plants.
  • n. A form of dextrine produced by roasting starch: specifically called artificial or British gum.
  • n. One of various species of trees, especially of the genera Eucalyptus, of Australia, and Nyssa, of the United States.
  • n. Same as gumming
  • n. A bubble; a pimple. Compare red-gum, white-gum.
  • n. plural India-rubber overshoes: more commonly called rubbers.
  • n. A section of a hollow log or tree (usually a gum-tree) used to form a small well-curb, or to make a beehive. —
  • n. The sorrel-tree, Oxydendrum arboreum.
  • n. The cider-gum or cider-tree, Eucalyptus Gunnii.
  • n. The water-tupelo (which see).
  • n. The sweet gum, Liquidambar Styraciflua.
  • n. The black- or sour-gum, Nyssa syivatica.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. wood or lumber from any of various gum trees especially the sweet gum
  • v. cover, fill, fix or smear with or as if with gum
  • n. any of various substances (soluble in water) that exude from certain plants; they are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying
  • n. cement consisting of a sticky substance that is used as an adhesive
  • n. the tissue (covered by mucous membrane) of the jaws that surrounds the bases of the teeth
  • n. any of various trees of the genera Eucalyptus or Liquidambar or Nyssa that are sources of gum
  • v. exude or form gum
  • n. a preparation (usually made of sweetened chicle) for chewing
  • v. grind with the gums; chew without teeth and with great difficulty
  • v. become sticky


Middle English gomme, from Old French, from Late Latin gumma, variant of Latin gummi, cummi, from Greek kommi, perhaps from Egyptian ḳmj-t.
Middle English gome, from Old English gōma, palate, jaw.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)
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'. (Wiktionary)



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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