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See also: Rheum



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From Anglo-Norman reume, from Late Latin rheuma, from Ancient Greek ῥεῦμα (rheûma, stream, humour).



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.]
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iii], page 4:
      Shylock: You that did voide your rume vpon my beard, / And foote me as you ſpurne a ſtranger curre / Ouer your threſhold, []
    • 1599, Thomas Nashe, Nashes Lenten Stuffe:
      and there built ſutlers booths and tabernacles, to canopie their heads in from the rhewme of the heauens, or the clouds diſſoluing Cataracts.
    • 1916, James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Macmillan Press Ltd, 102:
      He wore about his shoulders a heavy cloak; his pale face was drawn and his voice broken with rheum.
  2. Illness or disease thought to be caused by such secretions; a cold, catarrh; rheumatism. [from 14th c.]
  3. (poetic) Tears. [from 16th c.]


Derived termsEdit