Printable Version
Pronunciation: reem Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To enlarge a hole with a special tool (see top picture), removing excess material. 2. To extract juice from a citrus fruit using a juicer or reamer (see lower picture). 3. To rebuke someone fiercely.

Notes: This word has a fourth meaning that is vulgar slang that I decided to leave to your imagination. The only family this word has is reamer and reaming, which is used as a noun and adjective.

In Play: reaming bitThe basic sense of ream turns up in sentences like this: "If the hole is too small, use a screwdriver or round file to ream out the hold until the fastener slides in snugly." The vulgar sense may be cleaned up in common expressions like this: "His wife reamed him a new one on finding out that he had spent the afternoon at the racetrack rather than at the home improvement store."

Word History: In Old English today's word was ryman "widen, enlarge". The Old English word goes back to Old Germanic rumijan based on rumaz "spacious", also the source of room in the sense of "space". fruit reamerGermanic rumaz came from a suffixed form of PIE reue- "open up; (make) space". We see the same suffix in English room, German Raum, Swedish and Danish rum, and Norwegian rom—all meaning "space". With the suffix -s the same root shows up in Latin rus "open land, countryside", that we see in the English borrowings rustic and rural. (Let's not give Rob Towart reason to rebuke us for failing to acknowledge him for his gracious suggestion of yet another fascinating Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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