I recently found out about a new term. It's "gum the spoon". What does it mean?

By the various contexts I found, I conjecture that it means to add saliva onto the spoon or to hold the spoon in one's mouth for prolong time.

Google is no help, and it only provides examples, not explanations, of this phrase.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Boon-Squirt-Dispensing-Spoon-Orange/product-reviews/B000WEHO76?pageNumber=11

My daughter is one of those feeders who is easily distracted and loves to gum the spoon, "feed" herself, or play with her food.

Source: http://community.babycenter.com/post/a31922513/baby_wont_eat_from_spoon_only_wants_bottle?cpg=2

Mine is something awful and he wants to gum anything and everything to death and he just wants to gum the spoon and the nipple of his bottle and finds the sucking from his bottle soothing when his gums are hurting especially bad.

More uses: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHNU_enUS337US337&es_sm=122&q=%22gum+the+spoon%22&oq=%22gum+the+spoon%22&gs_l=serp.3...3219.5431.0.6368.

  • @choster I did.
    – Double U
    Feb 19, 2015 at 1:26
  • The first context appears to be describing feeding a small, toothless child, and such a child will, indeed "gum" the spoon, chewing on it, just as she chews on anything she can get into her mouth. The second context appears similar. "Gumming", in a small child, is just a form of "teething" -- no great hidden meaning.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 19, 2015 at 1:29
  • These are babies- they have no teeth yet; all they have is gums. So when they bite things they are said to be "gumming" them. With babies, gumming usually refers to repeated small biting motions with something between the gums.
    – Jim
    Feb 19, 2015 at 1:29

2 Answers 2


Babies are orally fixated, as well they should be. They also have few or no teeth, and to aid the eruption of their milk teeth they chew, or gum, hard objects. This allows the buried teeth to cut their way through the gum tissue. This process is known as "cutting" their teeth. Since they are using the gum tissue to chew, the process is known as "gumming" whatever objects they can bring to their mouths: spoons, pacifiers, their fingers, or anything else that comes into their grasp.

You can read more about the process.

baby teething, from wellbeing.com


Gum is a verb:

Chew (something) with toothless gums:

Gum the spoon refers to chewing on the spoon with toothless gums.


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