Gum is a sticky substance that oozes out of a tree or another plant, and chewing gum is the stuff you blow bubbles with or stick under your desk. Yuck.

Natural gum has many uses, including as a thickener in food products. Chewing gum, however, has only one real use: it's made to be chewed but not swallowed. This kind of gum often has a fruity or minty flavor, and can sometimes be blown into bubbles. When you gum something up, you clog or block it — or you make it sticky. Completely different gums are the soft flesh inside your mouth where your teeth are rooted.

Primary Meanings of gum

any of various substances (soluble in water) that exude from certain plants; they are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying
cover, fill, fix or smear with or as if with gum
the tissue (covered by mucous membrane) of the jaws that surrounds the bases of the teeth
grind with the gums; chew without teeth and with great difficulty
Full Definitions of gum

n any of various substances (soluble in water) that exude from certain plants; they are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying

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liquidambar, sweet gum
aromatic exudate from the sweet gum tree
eucalyptus gum, eucalyptus kino, red gum
reddish-brown dried gummy exudation from any of several trees of the genus Eucalyptus especially Eucalyptus camaldulensis
balata, gutta balata
when dried yields a hard substance used e.g. in golf balls
ammoniac, gum ammoniac
the aromatic gum of the ammoniac plant
carrageenan, carrageenin
a colloidal extract from carrageen seaweed and other red algae
a gum resin from the poison hemlock, Conium maculatum
dragon's blood
a dark red resinous substance derived from various trees and used in photoengraving
euphorbium, gum eurphorbium
an acrid brown gum resin now used mainly in veterinary medicine
frankincense, gum olibanum, olibanum, thus
an aromatic gum resin obtained from various Arabian or East African trees; formerly valued for worship and for embalming and fumigation
galbanum, gum albanum
a bitter aromatic gum resin that resembles asafetida
ghatti, ghatti gum
an Indian gum from the dhawa tree; used as a substitute for gum arabic
agar, agar-agar
a colloidal extract of algae; used especially in culture media and as a gelling agent in foods
algin, alginic acid
a gum used especially as a thickener or emulsifier
cherry-tree gum
exudation from trees of the Prunus genus; resembles gum arabic
chicle, chicle gum
gum-like substance from the sapodilla
guar gum
a gum from seeds of the guar plant; used to thicken foods and as sizing for paper and cloth
gum acacia, gum arabic
gum from an acacia tree; used as a thickener (especially in candies and pharmaceuticals)
Bengal kino, butea gum, butea kino, gum butea
dried juice of the dhak tree; used as an astringent
gum kino, kino, kino gum
a gum obtained from various tropical plants; used as an astringent and in tanning
mesquite gum
a gum obtained from mesquite pods; resembles gum arabic
a gelatinous substance secreted by plants
karaya gum, sterculia gum
exudate of an Asian tree; used for finishing textiles and to thicken foodstuffs and cosmetics
a whitish rubber derived from the coagulated milky latex of gutta-percha trees; used for insulation of electrical cables
a black resinous substance obtained from certain trees and used as a natural varnish
an odorous gum resin formerly used in medicines
gum sangapenum, sangapenum
a variety of gum
a gum used in pharmacy, adhesives, and textile printing
Senegal gum
gum arabic from the vicinity of the Senegal river
Type of:
exudate, exudation
a substance that oozes out from plant pores

n a preparation (usually made of sweetened chicle) for chewing

chewing gum
gum ball
a ball of chewing gum with a coating of colored sugar
bubble gum
a kind of chewing gum that can be blown into bubbles
Type of:
confection, sweet
a food rich in sugar

n cement consisting of a sticky substance that is used as an adhesive

glue, mucilage
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animal glue
a protein gelatin obtained by boiling e.g. skins and hoofs of cattle and horses
casein glue
made from casein; used for e.g. plywood and cabinetwork
fish glue
gelatinous substance obtained by boiling skins fins and bones of fish
marine glue
glue that is not water soluble
Type of:
something that hardens to act as adhesive material

n any of various trees of the genera Eucalyptus or Liquidambar or Nyssa that are sources of gum

gum tree
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any tree of the genus Liquidambar
eucalypt, eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree
a tree of the genus Eucalyptus
tupelo, tupelo tree
any of several gum trees of swampy areas of North America
American sweet gum, Liquidambar styraciflua, bilsted, red gum, sweet gum, sweet gum tree
a North American tree of the genus Liquidambar having prickly spherical fruit clusters and fragrant sap
flooded gum
any of several Australian gum trees growing on moist or alluvial soil
any of several low-growing Australian eucalypts
any of several Australian eucalypts having fibrous inner bark
any of several Australian eucalypts having the bark smooth except at or near the base of the trunk
Eucalyptus amygdalina, peppermint, peppermint gum, red gum
red gum tree of Tasmania
Eucalyptus calophylla, marri, red gum
very large red gum tree
Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus rostrata, river gum, river red gum
somewhat crooked red gum tree growing chiefly along rivers; has durable reddish lumber used in heavy construction
Eucalyptus camphora, mountain swamp gum
medium-sized swamp gum of New South Wales and Victoria
Eucalyptus coriacea, Eucalyptus pauciflora, ghost gum, snow gum, white ash
small to medium-sized tree of Australia and Tasmania having smooth white to light-grey bark shedding in patches or strips
Eucalyptus delegatensis, alpine ash, mountain oak
tall timber tree with hard heavy pinkish or light brown wood
Eucalyptus fraxinoides, white mountain ash
large tree with dark compact bark on lower trunk but smooth and white above; yields lumber similar to that of European or American ashes
Eucalyptus globulus, blue gum, fever tree
tall fast-growing timber tree with leaves containing a medicinal oil; young leaves are bluish
Eucalypt ovata, swamp gum
medium-sized tree of southern Australia
Eucalyptus maculata, spotted gum
large gum tree with mottled bark
Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus maculata citriodora, lemon-scented gum
similar to but smaller than the spotted gum and having lemon-scented leaves
Eucalyptus regnans, mountain ash
tree having wood similar to the alpine ash; tallest tree in Australia and tallest hardwood in the world
Eucalyptus viminalis, manna gum
tall tree yielding a false manna
Nyssa aquatica, water gum
columnar swamp tree of southeastern to midwestern North America yielding pale soft easily worked wood
Nyssa sylvatica, black gum, pepperidge, sour gum
columnar tree of eastern North America having horizontal limbs and small leaves that emerge late in spring and have brilliant color in early fall
Type of:
a tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown; includes both gymnosperms and angiosperms

n wood or lumber from any of various gum trees especially the sweet gum

hazelwood, red gum, satin walnut, sweet gum
reddish-brown wood and lumber from heartwood of the sweet gum tree used to make furniture
Type of:
the hard fibrous lignified substance under the bark of trees

v cover, fill, fix or smear with or as if with gum

“if you gum the tape it is stronger”
Type of:
apply, put on
apply to a surface

v become sticky

Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v exude or form gum

“these trees gum in the Spring”
Type of:
exudate, exude, ooze, ooze out, transude
release (a liquid) in drops or small quantities

n the tissue (covered by mucous membrane) of the jaws that surrounds the bases of the teeth

Type of:
animal tissue
the tissue in the bodies of animals

v grind with the gums; chew without teeth and with great difficulty

Type of:
chew, jaw, manducate, masticate
chew (food); to bite and grind with the teeth

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