gum up the works

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of gum up the works

informal
:to prevent something from working or flowing properly
  • Some dirt got inside the gears and gummed up the works.
  • The new regulations have really gummed up the works in the office.

Word by Word Definitions

gum play
  1. : the tissue that surrounds the necks of teeth and covers the alveolar parts of the jaws

  1. : to enlarge gullets of (a saw)

  2. : to chew with the gums

  1. : any of numerous colloidal polysaccharide substances of plant origin that are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying and are salts of complex organic acids — compare mucilage 1

  2. : any of various plant exudates (such as an oleoresin or gum resin)

  3. : a substance or deposit resembling a plant gum (as in sticky or adhesive quality)

  1. : to clog, impede, or damage with or as if with gum

  2. : to exude or form gum

  3. : to become gummy

up play
  1. : in or into a higher position or level

  2. : from beneath the ground or water to the surface

  3. : from below the horizon

  1. : risen above the horizon

  2. : standing

  3. : being out of bed

  1. used as a function word to indicate motion to or toward or situation at a higher point of

  2. : up into or in the

  3. : in a direction regarded as being toward or near the upper end or part of

  1. : one in a high or advantageous position

  2. : an upward slope

  3. : a period or state of prosperity or success

  1. : to rise from a lying or sitting position

  2. : to move upward : ascend

  3. used with and and another verb to indicate that the action of the following verb was either surprisingly or abruptly initiated

work play works
  1. : to perform work or fulfill duties regularly for wages or salary

  2. : to perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations

  3. : to exert oneself physically or mentally especially in sustained effort for a purpose or under compulsion or necessity

  1. : activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something:

  2. : activity that a person engages in regularly to earn a livelihood

  3. : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

  1. : suitable or styled for wear while working

  2. : used for work

  3. : involving or engaged in work


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