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

  • n. A quantity of paper, formerly 480 sheets, now 500 sheets or, in a printer's ream, 516 sheets.
  • n. A very large amount. Often used in the plural: reams of work to do.
  • transitive v. To form, shape, taper, or enlarge (a hole or bore, for example) with or as if with a reamer.
  • transitive v. To remove (material) by this process.
  • transitive v. To squeeze the juice out of (fruit) with a reamer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bundle, package, or quantity of paper, usually containing 500 sheets.
  • n. An abstract large amount of something.
  • v. To cream; mantle; foam; froth.
  • v. To enlarge a hole, especially using a reamer; to bore a hole wider.
  • v. To shape or form, especially using a reamer.
  • v. To remove (material) by reaming.
  • v. To remove burrs and debris from a freshly bored hole.
  • v. To yell at or berate.
  • v. To sexually penetrate in a rough and painful way, by analogy with definition 1.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Cream; also, the cream or froth on ale.
  • n. A bundle, package, or quantity of paper, usually consisting of twenty quires or 480 sheets.
  • intransitive v. To cream; to mantle.
  • transitive v. To stretch out; to draw out into thongs, threads, or filaments.
  • transitive v. To bevel out, as the mouth of a hole in wood or metal; in modern usage, to enlarge or dress out, as a hole, with a reamer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cream; mantle; foam; froth.
  • To appear like foam; be fleecy.
  • To make wide; widen; extend; extend by stretching; streteh or draw out.
  • Specifically To widen or enlarge by the use of a rotatory cutter: often with out: used especially of a hole or an opening in metal, and most commonly in connection with splayed or funnel-shaped holes.
  • Nautical, toopen (seams) for calking.
  • To leave; quit.
  • n. Cream; also, the cream-like froth on ale or other liquor; froth or foam in general.
  • n. A quantity of paper, consisting, for ordinary writing-paper, of 20 quires of 24 sheets each, or 480 sheets; for some kinds of drawing-paper, of 472 or 500 sheets; for printing-paper, of 21½ quires, or 516 sheets.

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

  • v. enlarge with a reamer
  • n. a quantity of paper; 480 or 500 sheets; one ream equals 20 quires
  • v. squeeze the juice out (of a fruit) with a reamer
  • n. a large quantity of written matter
  • v. remove by making a hole or by boring


Middle English reme, from Old French reime, from Old Spanish resma, from Arabic rizma, bundle, from razama, to bundle.
Possibly from Middle English remen, to make room, variant of rimen, from Old English rȳman.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English reme, rem, from Old English rēam ("cream"), from Proto-Germanic *raumaz (“cream”), from Proto-Indo-European *rewǝgh- (“to sour [milk]”). Cognate with Dutch room ("cream, sour cream"), German Rahm ("cream"), Norwegian rømme ("sour cream"), Icelandic rjómi ("cream"). See also ramekin. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English remen, rimen, rümen ("to open up"), from Old English rȳman ("to make roomy, extend, widen, spread, enlarge, amplify, prolong, clear, open up, make clear by removing obstructions, to clear a way"), from Proto-Germanic *rūmijanan (“to make roomy, give room, remove”), from Proto-Indo-European *rowǝ- (“free space”). Cognate with Dutch ruimen ("to empty, evacuate"), German räumen ("to make room"), Icelandic rýma ("to make room, clear"). More at room. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English reeme, from Old French raime, rayme ("ream") (French rame), from Arabic رزمة (rizma, "bundle"). (Wiktionary)



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