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printer's ream

noun
  1. See under ream1(def 1).
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ream1

[reem]
noun
  1. a standard quantity of paper, consisting of 20 quires or 500 sheets (formerly 480 sheets), or 516 sheets (printer's ream or perfect ream).
  2. Usually reams. a large quantity: He has written reams of poetry.
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Origin of ream1

1350–1400; Middle English rem(e) < Middle French reime, rame < Spanish rezma < Arabic rizmah bale
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for printer's ream

ream1

noun
  1. a number of sheets of paper, formerly 480 sheets (short ream), now 500 sheets (long ream) or 516 sheets (printer's ream or perfect ream). One ream is equal to 20 quires
  2. (often plural) informal a large quantity, esp of written matterhe wrote reams
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French raime, from Spanish rezma, from Arabic rizmah bale

ream2

verb (tr)
  1. to enlarge (a hole) by use of a reamer
  2. US to extract (juice) from (a citrus fruit) using a reamer
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Word Origin

C19: perhaps from C14 remen to open up, from Old English rӯman to widen
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

Word Origin and History for printer's ream

ream

n.2

"cream" (obsolete), Old English ream, from Proto-Germanic *raumoz (cf. Middle Dutch and Dutch room, German Rahm), of uncertain origin.

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ream

n.1

measure of paper, mid-14c., from Old French reyme, from Spanish resma, from Arabic rizmah "bundle" (of paper), from rasama "collect into a bundle." The Moors brought manufacture of cotton paper to Spain.

Early variant rym (late 15c.) suggests a Dutch influence (cf. Dutch riem), probably borrowed from Spanish during the time of Hapsburg control of Holland. For ordinary writing paper, 20 quires of 24 sheets each, or 480 sheets; often 500 or more to allow for waste; slightly different numbers for drawing or printing paper.

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ream

v.

"to enlarge a hole," 1815, probably a southwest England dialectal survival from Middle English reme "to make room, open up," from Old English ryman "widen, extend, enlarge," from Proto-Germanic *rumijanan (cf. Old Saxon rumian, Old Norse ryma, Old Frisian rema, Old High German rumen "to make room, widen"), from *rumaz "spacious" (see room (n.)). Slang meaning "to cheat, swindle" first recorded 1914; anal sex sense is from 1942. To ream (someone) out "scold, reprimand" is recorded from 1950.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper