See also: Rheum


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From Middle English reume, rewme, from Anglo-Norman reume, from Late Latin rheuma, from Ancient Greek ῥεῦμα (rheûma, stream, humour). Doublet of stream.



rheum (countable and uncountable, plural rheums)

  1. (uncountable) Watery or thin discharge of serum or mucus, especially from the eyes or nose, formerly thought to cause disease. [from 14th c.]
  2. Illness or disease thought to be caused by such secretions; a catarrh, a cold; rheumatism. [from 14th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, “Of the Recompences or Rewards of Honour”, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book II, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821, page 227:
      And not as ſome yeeres ſince, I ſaw a Deane of S. Hillarie of Poictiers, reduced by reaſon and the incommoditie of his melancholy to ſuch a continuall ſolitarineſſe, that when I entered into his chamber he had never remooved one ſteppe out of it in twoo and twenty yeares before: yet had all his faculties free and eaſie, onely a rheume excepted that fell into his ſtomake.
  3. (poetic) Tears. [from 16th c.]


Derived termsEdit