1. (US) to mess up, to spoil.
|Yale Fun 27: The plot that was gummed [DA].|
|Rabid Rudolph 4 Dec. [synd. col.] Nap got his name in the papers without every booting a field goal or gumming a forward pass.|
|N-Y Tribune 22 Jan. 9/3: They rushed me out, so as I wouldn’t ‘gum the show’.|
|Fighting Blood 208: When I stepped in and gummed up Rags Dempster’s plans.|
|(con. 1917–18) War Bugs 47: The attack he nearly gummed up came off that morning.|
|Hungry Men 62: Those old smoke belches from the Bowery are gumming it up.|
|Lady in the Lake (1952) 51: Don’t use it [i.e. alcohol] myself. Never could understand folks letting themselves get gummed up with it.|
|Dead Ringer 141: Maybe you think by tossing away the eights to draw to your bullets, you gummed my draw.|
|No Sunlight Singing (1966) 23: That’s why that blue I had nearly gummed it up.|
|World’s Toughest Prison 802: gum—To spoil; to interfere with; to upset a plan or arrangement.|
2. to talk nonsense.
|AS VII:5 332: gum—v.—to talk nonsense.‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in|
|Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 48: I don’t want to double-O what Brutus gummed.|
3. (US Black) to confess a crime.
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 8 Feb. 7/1: The law [...] lowered the boom on him [...] in the domicile of many slammers until he gummed.|
(US) an idiot.
|Deadly Streets (1983) 80: Man, was he soft in the head! A real gumbrain.‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in|
|(con. 1958) Been Down So Long (1972) 41: They ain’t your problems, gumbook.|
|Jack in the Box 203: I’m alone with these two gum-heads.|
|Varmint 142: Well, he’s rotten. He gums the whole show.|
|Over the Top ‘Tommy’s Dict. of the Trenches’ 294: ‘Gumming the game.’ Spoiling anything, interfering.|
|Leave it to Psmith (1993) 494: Only this afternoon my jinx gummed the game for me and threw a spanner into the prettiest little scenario.|
|Story Omnibus (1966) 52: I wouldn’t gum Joe’s play with her.‘Fly Paper’|
|Rap Sheet 188: I didn’t want to take no chances of gumming their play by getting nose trouble over something that wasn’t my business.|
|Jeeves in the Offing 88: [I shall be] ready to pop out and gum the game.|
to make a mess, to cause an obstruction.
|Me – Gangster 200: The get-away has gotta depend on our not gummin’ the works.|
|‘Bird in the Hand’ in Goulart (1967) 273: That’s where you’ve always gummed the works before.|
|(con. 1920s) USA (1966) 1066: You’re not going to try to gum up the game when I’ve got the biggest break I ever had in my life.Big Money in|
|You’re in the Racket, Too 53: What are the waste materials, exactly, that you want me to buy and what price should I offer? I will have to straighten all that out or I will gum up the works.|
|High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 313: He’s got no business in a big-time job like this and he may gum the works.|
|Loving (1978) 120: Why you’d gum up the whole works.|
|Benny Muscles In (2004) 218: It also looked as if he was going to gum the works.|
|Black Cargo 157: It isn’t wharfies and railwaymen who gum up the works.|
|Riot (1967) 101: A rumble with Fletcher could gum-up the works.|
|Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 228: [He] put the kibosh on their conspiracy to gum up the inner workings.|
|(con. 1949) Big Blowdown (1999) 232: You don’t want to be gumming things up or yourself at this stage in the game.|
|Special Providence 190: [...] the opportunities it gives for recalcitrant senators to gum up the works of the executive machine.|
|(con. 1954) Tomato Can Comeback [ebook] Stick to your newspaper stories, and quit tryin’ to gum up the works.|