\ ˈspyüm How to pronounce spume (audio) \

Definition of spume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: frothy matter on liquids : foam, scum ocean spume


spumed; spuming

Definition of spume (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from spume


spumous \ ˈspyü-​məs How to pronounce spume (audio) \ adjective
spumy \ ˈspyü-​mē How to pronounce spume (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for spume

Synonyms: Noun

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Spume is a word for froth or foam that has been a part of the English lexicon for more than 600 years. An early example is found in a 14th-century quotation from the English poet John Gower: "She set a cauldron on the fire … and let it boil in such a plight, till that she saw the spume [was] white." "Spume" was borrowed from Anglo-French espume or "spume," and can be traced further back to Latin spuma. "Spuma" is also akin to Old English "fām," a word that is the ancestor of the modern English "foam," a synonym of "spume." Another relative of "spuma" is "pumex," the Latin word for pumice, a volcanic rock with a somewhat foamy appearance that is formed from a rapidly cooling, frothy lava.

Examples of spume in a Sentence

Noun spume floating on the ocean
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the intervening seven decades, the event has developed from a small sports-car show and race into a weeklong car-and-lifestyle bacchanal that blankets the Monterey Peninsula in plumes of blue smoke and champagne spume. Brett Berk, Car and Driver, "Our Entirely Subjective Guide to the Most Important Good-Weather Automotive Events of the Year," 2 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of spume


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spume


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin spuma — more at foam

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The first known use of spume was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Spume.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spume. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of spume

literary : bubbles that form on ocean waves

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