9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[guhm] /gʌm/
by gum, (used as a mild oath).
Origin of gum3
1825-35; euphemism for God Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for by gum


any of various sticky substances that exude from certain plants, hardening on exposure to air and dissolving or forming viscous masses in water
any of various products, such as adhesives, that are made from such exudates
any sticky substance used as an adhesive; mucilage; glue
(NZ) short for kauri gum
(mainly Brit) a gumdrop
verb gums, gumming, gummed
to cover or become covered, clogged, or stiffened with or as if with gum
(transitive) to stick together or in place with gum
(intransitive) to emit or form gum
See also gum up
Derived Forms
gumless, adjective
gumlike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French gomme, from Latin gummi, from Greek kommi, from Egyptian kemai


the fleshy tissue that covers the jawbones around the bases of the teeth Technical name gingiva, related adjective gingival
Word Origin
Old English gōma jaw; related to Old Norse gōmr, Middle High German gūme, Lithuanian gomurīs


used in the mild oath by gum!
Word Origin
C19: euphemism for God


genitourinary medicine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for by gum



"resin," c.1300, from Old French gome "(medicinal) gum, resin," from Late Latin gumma, from Latin gummi, from Greek kommi "gum," from Egyptian kemai. As a shortened form of chewing gum, first attested 1842 in American English. The gum tree (1670s) was so called for the resin it exudes.

"membranes of the mouth," Old English goma "palate, side of the mouth" (single or plural), from a Germanic source represented by Old Norse gomi "palate," Old High German goumo; related to Lithuanian gomurys "palate," and perhaps from PIE *gheu- "to yawn" (cf. Greek khaos; see chaos).


early 14c., gommen, "treat with (medicinal or aromatic) gums," from gum (n.1). In the transferred or figurative sense of "spoil, ruin" (usually with up), it is first recorded 1901, probably from the notion of machinery becoming clogged. Of infants, etc., "to chew or gnaw (something) with the gums," by 1907, from gum (n.2). Related: Gummed; gumming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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by gum in Medicine

gum 1 (gŭm)

  1. Any of various viscous substances that are exuded by certain plants and trees and dry into water-soluble, noncrystalline, brittle solids.

  2. A similar plant exudate, such as a resin.

  3. Any of various adhesives made from such exudates or other sticky substance.

gum 2
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. v. gummed, gum·ming, gums
To chew food with toothless gums.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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by gum in Science
gum 1
Any of various sticky substances that are produced by certain plants and trees and dry into brittle solids soluble in water. Gums typically are colloidal mixtures of polysaccharides and mineral salts.
gum 2
See gingiva.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for by gum


  1. To talk; chatter: The he-gossips at the Press Club have been gumming about another romance (1940s+)
  2. gum up (1901+)
Related Terms

bat one's gums, bubblegum music, the bubblegum set

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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