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See more synonyms for fleam on Thesaurus.com
  1. Surgery. a kind of lancet, as for opening veins.
  2. the beveled leading edge of a sawtooth.
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Origin of fleam

1375–1425; late Middle English fleme, fleom < Middle French fliemeLate Latin phlebotomus, < Greek phlebotómon; see phlebo-, tome
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fleam

Historical Examples

  • It is also used for tortoise-shell, having in that case a bevel or fleam on the front face, and no set to the teeth.

    Modern Machine-Shop Practice, Volumes I and II

    Joshua Rose

  • He fumbled in his pockets as he spoke, and, as chance would it, the “fleam” (or cattle lancet) was somewhere about his dress.

    A Dark Night's Work

    Elizabeth Gaskell

  • But, vein or artery, it signified little; no living blood gushed out; only a little watery moisture followed the cut of the fleam.

    A Dark Night's Work

    Elizabeth Gaskell

  • Frequently a veterinary spring lancet or fleam is mistaken for a human lancet, or a scarificator for an instrument of venesection.

  • Since the specimens found in museums vary in size, it is likely that this type of fleam was used on both animals and humans.

British Dictionary definitions for fleam


  1. archaic a lancet used for letting blood
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Word Origin

C16: from Old French flieme, alteration of Late Latin phlebotomus lancet (literally: vein cutter); see phlebotomy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012