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.

Definitions of gum
  1. noun
    any of various substances (soluble in water) that exude from certain plants; they are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying
    see moresee less
    show 28 types...
    hide 28 types...
    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
  2. noun
    a preparation (usually made of sweetened chicle) for chewing
    synonyms: chewing gum
    see moresee less
    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
  3. noun
    cement consisting of a sticky substance that is used as an adhesive
    synonyms: glue, mucilage
    see moresee less
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    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
  4. noun
    any of various trees of the genera Eucalyptus or Liquidambar or Nyssa that are sources of gum
    synonyms: gum tree
    see moresee less
    show 23 types...
    hide 23 types...
    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
  5. noun
    wood or lumber from any of various gum trees especially the sweet gum
    synonyms: gumwood
    see moresee less
    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
  6. verb
    cover, fill, fix or smear with or as if with gum
    “if you gum the tape it is stronger”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    apply, put on
    apply to a surface
  7. verb
    become sticky
    see moresee less
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  8. verb
    exude or form gum
    “these trees gum in the Spring”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    exudate, exude, ooze, ooze out, transude
    release (a liquid) in drops or small quantities
  9. noun
    the tissue (covered by mucous membrane) of the jaws that surrounds the bases of the teeth
    synonyms: gingiva
    see moresee less
    type of:
    animal tissue
    the tissue in the bodies of animals
  10. verb
    grind with the gums; chew without teeth and with great difficulty
    synonyms: mumble
    see moresee less
    type of:
    chew, jaw, manducate, masticate
    chew (food); to bite and grind with the teeth
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week