Main definitions of gum in English

: gum1gum2gum3GUM4

gum1

noun

  • 1mass noun A viscous secretion of some trees and shrubs that hardens on drying but is soluble in water, and from which adhesives and other products are made.

    Compare with resin
    • ‘Then while it was drying itself, they would attach a feather or piece of down to its back with gum or blood or clay, to heighten its visibility as it returned in flight to its nest.’
    • ‘The raw silk fiber actually consists of two filaments called fibroin bound by a soluble silk gum called sericin.’
    • ‘A. Guar gum is a soluble fiber from a plant seed pod.’
    • ‘I learn that one ice cream ingredient, locust bean gum, was used in ancient Egypt to seal the wrappings on mummies.’
    • ‘Rubber gum is made up mostly of a hydrocarbon polymer called polyisoprene, the chains of which are composed only of interlinked carbon atoms with some hydrogen atoms attached.’
    • ‘Other packets of Jellyace Buko Bandan labelled as containing locust bean gum are safe.’
    • ‘The proportions of gum and water to be added to a fixed oil, in order to produce a satisfactory emulsion, will vary according to the oil used.’
    • ‘Their ‘pens’ were quills and their ink was a mixture of gum, soot and, sometimes, the ink from an octopus.’
    • ‘After this period of time, they begin to oxidize, forming sludge, varnish, gum and other harmful deposits.’
    • ‘Lampblack was also mixed with olive oil or balsam gum to make ink by early peoples, and Egyptians are known to have used lampblack as eyeliner.’
    • ‘These products are normally some type of long chain polymer or gum that increases the viscosity of the spray mixture.’
    • ‘Indian or Chinese ink is essentially lampblack (carbon ink) which is mixed with gum and resin and hardened by baking.’
    • ‘Experimenters soon found that the hardened gum could be dissolved in turpentine and then reshaped.’
    • ‘Similar vegetable gums, with the same possible adverse effects, are carrageenan, gum tragacanth, and carob or locust bean gum.’
    • ‘Guar gum did not produce significant adhesive forces.’
    • ‘A large, multi-chambered stomach supports bacteria that can break down plant fibres, though they prefer shoots, blossoms, fruit and gum from tree bark.’
    • ‘They otherwise feed mainly on tree gum and insects.’
    • ‘Combining xanthan gum with locust bean gum will have a similar effect.’
    • ‘I prefer to mix my own gum by dissolving gum-arabic powder or granules in water, at 1 part gum to 2 parts water.’
    • ‘Packets of Jellyace Buko Pandan which are labelled as containing locust bean gum, instead of Konjac, are legal and consumers are advised to check the label.’
    1. 1.1 Glue that is used for sticking paper or other light materials together.
      • ‘There are over five hundred million balloons in Europe which have been tied together with string and gum to form Europe City, the capital of Europe.’
      • ‘He also has a piece of adhesive gum with drawing pins sunk in it which, when combined with a thick rubber band, makes a horrifying catapult.’
      glue, adhesive, fixative, paste, cement, resin, epoxy resin, superglue
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A sticky secretion collecting in the corner of the eye.
  • 2

    short for chewing gum or bubblegum
    • ‘She popped a bubble with her gum, slowly sucking it back into her mouth, making her look like a fish.’
    • ‘You could have heard a pin drop; the interrogating lawyer even stopped snapping his gum.’
    • ‘Chew gum or suck on hard candy - if your child is older than 3 years.’
    • ‘I drop the cold metal cross and look up at him, blowing a bubble with my gum.’
    • ‘Josh ambled over to the garbage can, blowing one final bubble before spitting out his gum.’
    • ‘His threat to keep us all through lunch ended it, however, and Corey had to satisfy himself by blowing bubbles with his gum.’
    • ‘Some councillors were in favour of issuing £50 on-the-spot fines to people caught dropping their gum.’
    • ‘Lynda walked in, blowing a pink bubble with her gum.’
    • ‘Victoria sat on the edge of her seat, listening attentively and chewing hard on her gum.’
    • ‘I blew a bubble from the gum I had in my mouth letting it pop loudly as I leaned closer to Kyle, making sure I could see his eyes perfectly.’
    • ‘When she'd consumed the bitter liquid, she'd chew the gum, blowing great thick pink bubbles with casual aplomb.’
    • ‘They were described as gum shields being decorated boards with holes on top of a bin, the chewer then drops their gum through the hole into the bin.’
    • ‘She sat there counting ceiling tiles and blowing bubbles with her gum.’
    • ‘She smiled and waved flirtatiously, blowing a bubble with her gum in an attempt to look cute.’
    • ‘Caitlin blew a quick bubble with her gum, repositioning her crossed legs that were covered slightly by a highly slit jean skirt.’
    • ‘He started to unfold his gum's wrapper when he fumbled and dropped it on the floor.’
    • ‘Behind her sat Stacey, one of the most popular cheerleaders of the high school, and she was loudly popping her cotton candy scented gum.’
    • ‘They are conducting a campaign to encourage people not to drop their gum in the streets.’
    • ‘Blowing a large, pink bubble with my gum, I watched it pop and let out inane laughter.’
    • ‘A bored looking Sales attendant glanced up from her magazine while absentmindedly blowing a bubble with her gum, and gestured around herself.’
  • 3A gum tree, especially a eucalyptus.

    See also sweet gum
    • ‘It is sheltered effectively by blue gums and golden wattle broken by a palm tree and a peppercorn and it overlooks an olive grove, which yields a steady supply of virgin oil.’
    • ‘Associated species were pignut and mockernut, hickories, black gum, red maple, sassafras, sourwood, and white ash.’
    • ‘Atholl and Wierda Valley still boast some of the gums and pines that she planted in those suburbs.’
    • ‘In many other trees such as black gum, sassafras, dogwood, and some maples and oaks, the pigment anthocyanin adds red to the palette.’
    • ‘Spotted gum, a type of eucalyptus, runs throughout the house.’
    • ‘Thomas established a piece of paradise by planting many native rimu, gums and pines, which now shelter an extraordinary collection of some of the world's rarest and most unusual plants.’
    • ‘The Australian ‘Nilagiris’ owe their name to a vaporous blue haze exuded by the eucalyptus gum.’
    • ‘For botany lessons, we crossed the road into the botanical gardens, there to examine the leaves of ash, oak, elm, plane, pine but no wattles, gums or banksias.’
    • ‘Lowland riverine forests gradually become pockets of temperate rainforest, sprinkled with mountain ash and grey gums.’
    • ‘Bottlebrushes, gums and lillypillies, too numerous to mention here, also include splendid specimens of towering proportions in their genera.’
    • ‘One only has to look at some coral trees in small gardens, wild figs and blue gums that have got out of hand.’
    • ‘A little further downstream were towering red gums and grey gums.’
    • ‘In addition you can expect to see rare species of hornbeam, Douglas fir and black gum, and a well-forested block of South Colorado Street.’
    • ‘Here, unusual and ancient giant ferns are frequent, as are scribbly gums and eucalypts, while in places kauri and satinay pines reach high for the sky.’
  • 4NZ

    short for kauri gum
  • 5North American dated

    another term for gumboot

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cover with gum or glue.

    ‘gummed paper’
    • ‘The curling iron was carefully slid away and the eye of the curl was glued in place with a gummed needle.’
    • ‘Keep the sander moving constantly to prevent heat caused by friction from softening the paint and gumming up the paper.’
    • ‘Handy too, because it seems to get gummed up with hair and dog fur and carpet fluff occasionally.’
    • ‘If you use an electric sander, keep the tool moving on the surface to prevent friction from melting the finish and gumming up the paper.’
    • ‘So anyway, the application form is still sitting in my bag, tantalisingly close to being gummed up and sent away.’
    • ‘A major mystery of natural silk manufacture is how spiders and silkworms convert watery solutions into threads without gumming themselves up.’
    • ‘Use a drop of needle lubricant to prevent the adhesive backing from gumming up the needle as you stitch.’
    • ‘Drawing and painting materials - as well as crayons and felt-tip pens, try colouring pencils, poster paints, coloured paper, sparkly card, glitter glue, gummed shapes, pom-poms and sequins.’
    • ‘If an artwork does require new hinges, both Linde and Derow recommend using traditional Japanese rice paper hinges attached with wheat starch paste rather than gummed linen tapes or pre-glued papers.’
    • ‘Obviously printing books in several languages proved to be very expensive - so we have instead provided all the words for book on gummed paper in 9 languages.’
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial Fasten with gum or glue.
      ‘the receipts are gummed into a special book’
      • ‘Stamps are slammed on the title page, label pockets gummed to the rear pastedown, dust wrappers discarded, covers vulcanised in plastic - or, in those days, a toffee-brown buckram tough enough to withstand acid.’
      • ‘To start I went for an enormous rack of ribs, which would easily have made a main course in its own right, slow-cooked so the fat had rendered down to produce that lovely stickiness which gums your teeth together.’
      stick, glue, paste, cement
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2gum something up Clog up a mechanism and prevent it from working properly.
      ‘open and close the valves to make sure they don't get gummed up’
      • ‘They are gumming up the works and sticking their noses in where they shouldn't.’
      • ‘Hull Road, Haxby Road, Heworth Green are gummed up by roadworks.’
      • ‘The impact would be nearly imperceptible at first, but it'd be there, and significant enough to gum things up.’
      • ‘Ordinarily, this cash liquidity premium is too small to gum up the works.’
      • ‘What you can do is find some other system that's naturally slowing it down, and try to gum that pathway up instead, freeing the enzyme of interest to do its thing.’
      • ‘Rather than just binding to ribosomes and gumming them up, ricin is actually an enzyme all by itself.’
      • ‘All the work's possible dreams are gummed up to create a world that is glacial, hyperrealistic, and devoid of poetry.’
      • ‘If you drink proper loose tea, you get countless black leaves gumming up your sink/bin/teeth.’
      • ‘When I asked, I was told all the leaves are gumming up the undercarriage of trains and it can take up to a week to clean them.’
      • ‘On one hand, it can gum the market up, keeping it flat and discouraging people from trading completely.’
      • ‘With two planets gumming up the works, you're feeling a little bummed out.’
      • ‘What if more accountability actually slowed it down, gummed it up.’
      clog, clog up, choke, choke up, stop up, dam up, plug, congest, jam, obstruct, occlude, close
      obstruct, impede, hinder, interfere with, bring to a halt
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French gomme, based on Latin gummi, from Greek kommi, from Egyptian kemai.

Pronunciation

gum

/ɡʌm/

Main definitions of gum in English

: gum1gum2gum3GUM4

gum2

noun

  • The firm area of flesh around the roots of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw.

    ‘a tooth broken off just above the gum’
    ‘toothpastes made to keep your gums healthy’
    as modifier ‘gum disease’
    • ‘Oral cancer encompasses cancers of the mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips and tongue.’
    • ‘In these cases, your dentist may need to make a few small cuts in your gum to reach the roots of the tooth.’
    • ‘Eventually it was determined that there was eggshell lodged in the gum behind one of my front teeth.’
    • ‘When gingivitis is neglected, it will eventually progress to periodontal disease, where the gums recede and the teeth loosen and eventually fall out.’
    • ‘Cosmetic treatments tend to look better and last longer if you have healthy teeth and gums.’
    • ‘It can lead to vision problems, kidney problems, and problems with the gums and teeth.’
    • ‘One of the largest-ever studies following the teeth and gums of healthy adults has just been reported from Brisbane.’
    • ‘Be sure to keep you gums and teeth healthy during pregnancy.’
    • ‘Go to the dentist before you get pregnant to be sure your teeth and gums are healthy.’
    • ‘Periodontitis is a chronic infectious disease of the gums and underlying bony tissues.’
    • ‘In one recent study, men with extensive gum disease had a four times greater risk for heart trouble and stroke than men with healthy teeth and gums.’
    • ‘It is often necessary to make a small cut in the gum over the wisdom tooth, and to remove some bone so that the tooth can be lifted out.’
    • ‘Smokeless tobacco stains and wears down your teeth, causes your gums to recede (peel back) and produces mouth sores.’
    • ‘Chemotherapy may cause sores in the mouth, gums, and throat or cause gum tissues to become irritated and bleed.’
    • ‘When healthy, the gum forms a tight collar around and between each tooth.’
    • ‘More obviously vampiric forms of the illness present themselves as an intolerance to light, wherein the skin cracks and bleeds, the gums and upper lip recede, and there is redness of the eyes, teeth, and skin.’
    • ‘Call the doctor or dentist if you have questions or concerns about your child's teeth, gums, or dental health.’
    • ‘It ensures that the adult teeth have a healthy mouth to grow into, so they are not immediately attacked by infections from other teeth and diseased gums.’
    • ‘It can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all the teeth.’
    • ‘Eating a balanced diet and healthy snacks is good for your child's teeth and gums.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Chew (something) with toothless gums.

    ‘the two-year-old gummed his mother's plastic-coated ration card’
    • ‘Nearly every time I've been to Sakura I've seen a table or two with a little blond-headed child munching on a chicken skewer or gumming a tempura shrimp.’
    • ‘Most kids are too overweight to catch you and if they do, can only gum you to death.’
    • ‘Back when I was sans teeth, I used to gum the enormous bagels my parents bought me from the old man in Soulard's market in St. Louis.’
    • ‘My 10-month-old son is still more interested in gumming the keyboard than in exploring educational possibilities on the Web, but I look forward to the day when I can help him connect with his world by connecting to the Internet.’
    • ‘They made the leathery meal soft enough to swallow by alternately sucking on and gumming it.’
    • ‘You gummed the pieces with sheer delight, making mmmm, mmmm noises and waving your hands like some beauty pageant winner on a float being pulled down Main Street.’
    • ‘A veteran who has started games and isn't yet gumming his food, Matthews can hold down the fort as a fill-in.’
    • ‘He opened the first tin without ceremony and quickly began gumming the weenies with glee.’
    • ‘Like everything else lately, the strap went straight into his mouth, and soon the child was happily gumming away on it, tears forgotten as the chew toy did its work.’
    • ‘Taking his time to gum the cuisine, his face projected an expression of disgust.’
    • ‘And I could only stare, my mouth hung open dumbly like a cow gumming its cud.’
    • ‘They look simultaneously vicious and goofy - they've got pathetic little teeth and couldn't even gum you to death.’

Origin

Old English gōma ‘inside of the mouth or throat’, of Germanic origin; related to German Gaumen ‘roof of the mouth’.

Pronunciation

gum

/ɡʌm/

Main definitions of gum in English

: gum1gum2gum3GUM4

gum3

noun

in phrase by gum!
Northern English
  • An exclamation used for emphasis.

    ‘if he wants it done by Friday, by gum, he'd better get cracking!’
    • ‘Those delicious shivers of anticipation you feel coursing up and down your spine have nothing to do with Valentines Day; it's your body telling you that the Junos are coming up, and by gum you better get ready!’
    • ‘One last van load, we said, which turned into two, and by gum we were tired by the end of it.’
    • ‘Not sure what the content was, but by gum the subject line rocked out.’
    • ‘The paramount principle has been that the United Nations' word must be taken seriously, and if we've had to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then, by gum, so be it.’
    • ‘When someone promises ‘the greatest adventure of all time,’ they'd by gum better deliver.’
    • ‘‘This is what we wanted to do and by gum, we were going to do it,’ says Spring.’
    • ‘Hard enough when in sober mind, this was not something we were capable of attempting half-cut, although by gum we certainly tried.’
    • ‘Baby, we have that power, and eeh by gum we plan to use it.’
    • ‘If he says that it requires a constitutional amendment to rectify this grievous error, then, by gum, I am all for it.’
    • ‘But by gum, I just can't bear the notion of some Joe Lunchpail and his slovenly wife trundling clumsily through my private slaughterhouse, or trying on my world-renowned collection of 16th century undergarments.’
    • ‘And by gum we loved every minute of it, even though the sores stayed open for years.’
    • ‘Apparently the fame went right to this fella's noggin, by gum, as his hollerin' and harp-playin' have now become a permanent fixture at Barfly's bluegrass nights as well.’
    • ‘They really will have to start writing efficient software, by gum.’
    • ‘Eventually I realized that if I want people to have good manners in my house, then, by gum, I'm going to make them have good manners in my house.’
    • ‘Stick the same thing outside a café and they will use it, because now its purpose is clear (and they've paid for their coffee so by gum they're going to get their money's worth and bloody well sit there and to hell with the traffic fumes!).’
    • ‘Cutting back on emissions (by agreeing to the Kyoto Protocols), the report contended, would put a damper on the economic wealth that will save us from hurricanes that might take lots of lives in poorer countries but not here, by gum.’
    • ‘I guess I just finished a two-week stint at Overlake Hospital, and by gum, it was boring as hell.’
    • ‘Friday came, by gum, and my parents had dropped me off at the entrance to the school in complete shock.’
    • ‘But by gum, he was going to shout at them a lot and ladle on the tough love to get them there.’
    • ‘I made a point of doing my weekend ride at 8am on Sunday, getting home at 11 (nice rolling 36 miles through the countryside), and by gum it was starting to heat up by then.’

Origin

Early 19th century: euphemistic alteration of God.

Pronunciation

gum

/ɡʌm/

Main definitions of gum in English

: gum1gum2gum3GUM4

GUM4

  • Genito-urinary medicine.