1 [guhm]
any of various viscid, amorphous exudations from plants, hardening on exposure to air and soluble in or forming a viscid mass with water.
any of various similar exudations, as resin.
a preparation of such a substance, as for use in the arts or bookbinding.
mucilage; glue.
rubber1 ( def 1 ).
Philately. the adhesive by which a postage stamp is affixed. Compare o.g ( def 1 ).
Informal. a rubber overshoe or boot.
verb (used with object), gummed, gumming.
to smear, stiffen, or stick together with gum.
to clog with or as if with some gummy substance.
verb (used without object), gummed, gumming.
to exude or form gum.
to become gummy.
to become clogged with a gummy substance.
Verb phrases
gum up, Slang. to spoil or ruin.
gum up the works. work ( def 50 ).

1350–1400; Middle English gomme < Old French < Vulgar Latin *gumma, for Latin gummi, cummi < Greek kómmi

gumless, adjective
gumlike, adjective Unabridged


2 [guhm]
Often, gums. Also called gingiva. the firm, fleshy tissue covering the alveolar parts of either jaw and enveloping the necks of the teeth.
verb (used with object), gummed, gumming.
to masticate (food) with the gums instead of teeth.
to shape or renew the teeth of (a saw), as by grinding.
beat one's gums, Slang. to talk excessively or ineffectively.

1275–1325; Middle English gome, Old English gōma palate; akin to Old Norse gōmr, German Gaumen palate


3 [guhm]
by gum, (used as a mild oath).

1825–35; euphemism for God Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gum1 (ɡʌm)
1.  any of various sticky substances that exude from certain plants, hardening on exposure to air and dissolving or forming viscous masses in water
2.  any of various products, such as adhesives, that are made from such exudates
3.  any sticky substance used as an adhesive; mucilage; glue
4.  (NZ) short for kauri gum
5.  chewing gum bubble gum See gumtree
6.  chiefly (Brit) a gumdrop
vb , gums, gumming, gummed
7.  to cover or become covered, clogged, or stiffened with or as if with gum
8.  (tr) to stick together or in place with gum
9.  (intr) to emit or form gum
[C14: from Old French gomme, from Latin gummi, from Greek kommi, from Egyptian kemai]

gum2 (ɡʌm)
Technical name: gingiva the fleshy tissue that covers the jawbones around the bases of the teethRelated: gingival
Related: gingival
[Old English gōma jaw; related to Old Norse gōmr, Middle High German gūme, Lithuanian gomurīs]

gum3 (ɡʌm)
used in the mild oath by gum!
[C19: euphemism for God]

abbreviation for
genitourinary medicine

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"resin," c.1300, from O.Fr. gomme, from L.L. gumma, from L. gummi, from Gk. kommi "gum," from Egyptian kemai. The verb, in the transferred fig. sense of "spoil, ruin" (usually with up) is first recorded 1901, probably from the notion of machinery becoming clogged. As a shortened form of chewing gum,
first attested 1842 in Amer.Eng.; gumshoe "plainclothes detective" is from 1906, from the rubber-soled shoes they wore (which were so called from 1863). Gum-tree (1676) was so called for the resin it exudes.

"membranes of the mouth," from O.E. goma "palate," from a Gmc. source represented by O.N. gomi "palate," O.H.G. goumo, related to Lith. gomurys "palate," and perhaps from PIE *gheu- "to yawn" (cf. Gk. khaos, see chaos).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
gum 1   (gŭm)  Pronunciation Key 
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   (gŭm)  Pronunciation Key 
See gingiva.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for gum
Lying over the bone is the gingiva or gum, which is readily visible in the mouth.
They were called gums because they often were from red gum trees.
This was done by inserting a metal container of burning sulphur into the gum.
Image for gum
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