Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

What does “Reem” mean?

So you are a fan of the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex (popularly called “TOWIE”) and want to desperately know what “Reem” actually means? Reem has often been used by Joey Essex to describe his hair. You have asked your neighbours, friends, everyone in office and are scratching your head for the answer! Like everyone else in the U.K. you finally hit the internet and type “Reem definition” or “what does Reem mean” and voila, you have reached this blog.  You have to suffer no longer mate as this post along with the detailed feedback from readers in the Comments section (I highly recommend you read all the comments)  is arguably your single best resource to know everything about the word “Reem”.

– Reem – Joining vajazzle, ohshatuuuup and jel in the Essex dictionary, we know have the word reem. Invented inside the mysterious empty void that is Joey Essex’s brain, we’re not entirely clear what the term means, but apparently it’s a phrase of endearment. It may seem idiotic right now (and it is), but trust us, you’ll all be saying it in a couple of months’ time. As Joey Essex so poetically put on his Twitter account today, “Look reem… smell reem… be reem… Reem.”

TOWIE is UK’s answer to  the “The Hills” or “Jersey Shore” and has gone insane on Social Media. The popularity among teenagers in Britain is really out of control prompting social commentators to research the phenomenon. Check out British blogger Ashe’s post on the same on ITBLOKE. Like what happens in modern day pop culture, Joey’s usage of the word “REEM”  has gone viral!

The slang usage is apparently derived from Swedish and is used to describe an incredibly sexy and physically talented individual. A “reem” is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach “reem status”.  This is now used like an adjective and to summarize the pop-culture meaning today in a single word, “reem” means “sexy”.  There is even a Facebook Community Page for the Joey Essex derived usage of the word Reem. The Telegraph though has opted for a slightly toned down definition calling it a  term of endearment to mean ‘cool’.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show.

The Only Way Is Essex: the cast of the reality show. Photo: ITV

But what is the TRADITIONAL meaning of the word “Reem”, which is used as a first name by many (including myself)?

Many people have asked me what my name actually means…to which I have had no clear answer! While “Reem”is used as a female name in the Arab world (for ex: Reem Acra) and in Israel for males (ex:  Reem Aminoach) as well.  As one reader pointed out it is a family name or surname in Dutch (ex: van Reem) and surnames  are historically taken after a male patriarch in most societies. This confounds the matter even more.

Finally, after hours of searching & reading, the mysterious meaning of the semitic word “Reem” has been explained…that too in the most unexpected of places.

Read this early 19th Century report of a curious event which took place in Glasgow City published in the Glasgow Argus newspaper:

Glasgow Argus
MONDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 7, 1835

…Our visitor is of ancient lineage, though we are by no means certain that it can be traced quite so far back as his flatterers have attempted to do. Some have represented him as the lineal descendant of the Reem , of whom mention is made in the Books of Number and Deuteronomy, in the Psalms, in Job, and in Isaiah. The genealogy is not very clearly made out. In the kindred dialect of the Arabic, Rem denotes an antelope. Of course this does not prove that the Hebrew Reem was an antelope; for only from scientific zoologists can we expect critical accuracy in the matter of names, and we know well the carelessness with which colonists apply the names of the beasts and birds of their fatherland to those which they find in their new domicile. On the other hand, the text of the Septuagint favours the identity of the Reem with the rhinoceros, by translating it monoceros . The Ethiopic translation of the Scriptures renders it Arwe Harish , the names of the rhinoceros; this, however, is of little consequence, as it seems now to be admitted that that translation was made from the Septuagint. This latter, however, was effected before the birth of our Saviour, by Jews resident in Egypt, at a time when the rhinoceros was frequently exhibited there as a part of the royal pomp of the Ptolemies.

The account given of the form and habits of the Reem , in the sacred books, are far too slender to add anything satisfactory to this vague guess-work. In one passage it seems implied that the Reem was abundant on the north-east frontier of the Israelites, from Anti-Lebanon towards Bozrah. In “Job” the strength of the animal, and the impossibility of making it available in agricultural labour, is hinted at. The elevation of the horn is always the most prominent, if indeed not the only feature alluded to. In the twenty-second Psalm, it would almost seem, from the juxtaposition, that the “shooting of the lip” was the image which raised up the Reem in the poet’s imagination. Altogether, these combined hints produce a very faint and indistinct picture of the animal…

Read more of the Indian Rhino’s visit to the UK over here:
Rhino in Glasgow

Here’s an alternative definitions for “Reem” where scholars say it translates to a “wild ox” and not “rhinoceros or unicorn”. Click here: Unicorns and the KJV

In the Arab world, “Reem” is mistakenly understood to mean  “gazelles” or “pure white antelopes”  or ” young deers” or  “white rabbits” and even “seaweed formed on ocean surface” depending on who you speak to. This confusion is not surprising as lots of Arabic words have digressed from their original Semitic roots. Take for example the famous case of the word  “‘houris” which has been wrongly understood for centuries as “doe -eyed fair maidens” when they actually mean “white raisins of crystal clarity”.  (Source: The Guardian)

Interestingly, “REEM” is also the name of two Intelligent Humanoid Robots created by PAL ROBOTICS.

Another famous “Reem” is  Alistair “The Reem” Overeem a Dutch Mixed Martial Artist and kickboxer. “The Reem” made history by being the only fighter in combat sports to hold a world title in both MMA and in K-1 kickboxing at the same time.

a Swedish word used to describe an incredibly sexy, vulgar and physically talented individual. A reem is always envied and desired by others who are not able to reach reem status as well as those who are.
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Do you love your monkey or do you love me?

Chimps, humans very similar at DNA level
Wed 31 Aug 2005 01:55 pm CST
MASSACHUSETTS (myDNA News)

The first comprehensive comparison of the genetic blueprints of humans and chimpanzees shows our closest living relatives share perfect identity with 96 percent of our DNA sequence, an international research consortium reported today. Led by scientists from the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO, the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium reported its findings in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal Nature.

Comparison of the chimpanzee and human genomes reveals extraordinary similarities, significant differences and new paths for biomedical research:

It provides unambiguous confirmation of the common and recent evolutionary origin of human and chimpanzees, as first predicted by Charles Darwin in 1871.
It provides key information for human medicine by revealing important properties of the human genome, including the types of genes that have been evolving most rapidly over millions of years and specific chromosomal regions that have undergone strong positive selection during recent human history. This sheds light on human biology and especially on human disease, because at least some of these reflect responses to recent infectious agents or evolutionary changes relevant to human health.
It demonstrates that the human and chimpanzee species have tolerated more deleterious mutations than other mammals, such as rodents. This confirms an important evolutionary prediction, and may account for greater innovation in primates than rodents, as well as a high incidence of genetic diseases.
“We now have a nearly complete catalog of the genetic changes that occurred during the evolution of the modern human and chimpanzee species from our common ancestor,” said the study’s lead author, Tarjei S. Mikkelsen of the Broad Institute. “By cross-referencing this catalog against clinical observations and other biological data, we can begin to identify the specific changes that underlie the unique traits of the human species.”

“The evolutionary comparison of the human and chimpanzee genomes has major implications for biomedicine,” said Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute. “It provides a crucial baseline for human population genetic analysis. By identifying recent genetic changes and regions with unusually high or low variation, it can point us to genes that vary as a response to infectious agents and environmental pressures.”

Among the major findings of the Consortium are:

The chimpanzee and human genomes are strikingly similar and encode very similar proteins. The DNA sequence that can be directly compared between the two genomes is almost 99 percent identical. When DNA insertions and deletions are taken into account, humans and chimpanzees still share 96 percent sequence identity. At the protein level, 29 percent of genes code for the same amino sequences in chimpanzees and humans. In fact, the typical human protein has accumulated just one unique change since chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago.
A few classes of genes are changing unusually quickly in both humans and chimpanzees compared with other mammals. These classes include genes involved in perception of sound, transmission of nerve signals, production of sperm and cellular transport of ions. The rapid evolution of these genes may have contributed to the special characteristics of primates.
Humans and chimpanzees have accumulated more potentially deleterious mutations in their genomes over the course of evolution than have mice, rats and other rodents. While such mutations can cause diseases that may erode a species’ overall fitness, they may have also made primates more adaptable to rapid environmental changes and enabled them to achieve unique evolutionary adaptations.
About 35 million DNA base pairs differ between the shared portions of the two genomes. In addition, there are another 5 million sites that differ because of an insertion or deletion in one of the lineages, along with a much smaller number of chromosomal rearrangements. Most of these differences lie in what is believed to be DNA of little or no function. However, as many as 3 million of the differences are found in crucial protein-coding genes or other functional areas of the genome. Somewhere in these relatively few differences lies the biological basis for the unique characteristics of the human species, including human-specific diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and HIV/AIDS.
Although the statistical signals are relatively weak, a few classes of genes appear to be evolving more rapidly in humans than in chimpanzees. The single strongest outlier involves genes that code for transcription factors, molecules that regulate the activity of other genes and that play key roles in embryonic development.
A small number of other genes have undergone even more dramatic changes. More than 50 genes present in the human genome are missing or partially deleted from the chimpanzee genome. The corresponding number of gene deletions in the human genome is not yet precisely known. For example, three key genes involved in inflammation appear to be deleted in the chimpanzee genome, possibly explaining some of the known differences between chimpanzees and humans in respect to immune and inflammatory response. On the other hand, humans appear to have lost the function of the caspase-12 gene, which produces an enzyme that may affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are six regions in the human genome that have strong signatures of selective sweeps over the past 250,000 years (selective sweeps occur when a mutation arises in a population and is so advantageous that it spreads throughout the population within a few hundred generations and eventually becomes “normal.”) One region contains more than 50 genes, while another contains no known genes and lies in an area that scientists refer to as a “gene desert.” Intriguingly, this gene desert may contain elements regulating the expression of a nearby protocadherin gene, which has been implicated in patterning of the nervous system.
A seventh region with moderately strong signals contains the FOXP2 and CFTR genes. FOXP2 has been implicated in the acquisition of speech in humans. CFTR, which codes for a protein involved in ion transport and, if mutated, can cause the fatal disease cystic fibrosis, is thought to be the target of positive selection in European populations.

The initial complete sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison to the human genome is an important milestone in what will be several years of intensive work at understanding human evolutionary history and applying these data to biomedical research. The fact that these data, and all future data from the Consortium, are being placed in the public domain means that scientists worldwide can contribute to this work.

The 67 researchers who took part in the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium share authorship of the Nature paper. The sequencing and assembly of the chimpanzee genome was done at the Broad Institute and at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO. In addition to those centers, the consortium included researchers from institutions elsewhere in the United States, as well as Israel, Italy, Germany and Spain. The work of the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium is funded in part by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health.

The team was co-led by Lander, Richard Wilson of the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO and Robert Waterston of the University of Washington, Seattle WA.

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