from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In surgery and farriery, a sharp instrument for lancing the gums or for opening veins in bloodletting; a lancet; in the most restricted sense, a form of spring-lancet.
  • noun In heraldry, a bearing thought by some to represent the farriers' lancet, but more probably a builders' cramp of iron, whence often called crampon.
  • noun Same as phlegm.
  • noun A river; a stream.
  • noun A water-course; a trench or drain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Surg. & Far.) A sharp instrument used for opening veins, lancing gums, etc.; a kind of lancet.
  • noun a tooth of a saw shaped like an isosceles triangle; a peg tooth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sharp instrument used to open a vein, to lance gums, or the like.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French flieme ("open vein"), from Late Latin phlebotomus, from Ancient Greek φλεβοτόμον (phlebotomon).


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  • A veterinarian's bleeding tool. See a picture here.

    April 19, 2007

  • When he was laid upon the grass and turned from side to side, a great quantity of water ran out at his mouth, then he opened his eyes, and fetched a deep sigh. Clinker perceiving these signs of life, immediately tied up his arm with a garter, and, pulling out a horse-fleam, let him blood in the farrier stile.

    - Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (Melford to Phillips), 1771

    January 9, 2009

  • it's here:

    January 9, 2009

  • "...he was found by his disconsolate helpmate and some friends whom she had assembled for his assistance. Among these was a blacksmith and farrier, who took cognizance of his carcase, every limb of which having examined, he declared there was no bone broken, and taking out his fleam, blooded him plentifully as he lay."

    — Smollett, Peregrine Pickle

    January 17, 2022