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, 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.]
    • 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iv], page 27, column 2:
      Rich. And ſay, what ſtore of parting tears were ſhed?
      Aum. Faith none for me: except the Northeaſt wind
      Which then grew bitterly againſt our face,
      Awak’d the ſleepie rhewme, and ſo by chance
      Did grace our hollow parting with a teare.


Derived termsEdit




From Ancient Greek ῥῆον (rhêon).



  1. rhubarb