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 know what “Reem” means when Joey Essex uses it 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 Britain you finally Google “what does Reem mean” and have reached this blog like so many (yep.. traffic has spiked).
Suffer no more as we have done the research for you. Read on.

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.”

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”.  The Telegraph though has opted for a slightly toned down definition calling it a  term of endearment to mean ‘cool’.

Here are some popular clips

But what is the original meaning of the word “reem”?

Many people have asked me what my name actually means…to which I have had no clear answer! “Reem” is used as a female name in the Arab world (for example: Reem Acra in Lebanon) and as a male name in Israel (ex:  Reem Aminoach).  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. In the Arab world, “Reem” is popularly understood to mean  “gazelles” or “white antelopes” (clearly some connection to animals with “horns”). 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)

But it’s clear there is some Semitic origin for this word. Read this early 19th Century report of a curious event which took place in Glasgow City published in the Glasgow Argus newspaper:

Glasgow Argus

…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 press overage of the great Indian Rhino’s visit to the UK over here: Rhino Resource

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

Interestingly, “REEM – C” is also the name of an Intelligent Humanoid Robot created by PAL ROBOTICS.

Another famous “reem” is  Alistair Overeem a Dutch Mixed Martial Artist and kickboxer. “The Reem” (as he was known) 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.

94 responses to “What does “Reem” mean?”

  1. this made me laugh… cuz i just open my arabic english dictionary… and it says “reem: white fawn, antelope…”
    but the history lesson was good 🙂

    1. m8,i’ve been saying the word reem from as early as i can remember,(mid 70’s) it is an abreviation of the word supreme and was used in this context initially “reemo supreme o” shortened to reem,meaning “pukka,really good,etc etc….” however i dont like using now,as some jumped up pricks who look like absoloute cnuts have nicked it n takin it to essex n claimed its there word…little fake bake mugs,bring em over paddington for an hour on a friday night,see how long they last with the “hood rats”

      1. well said ,or should i say reem

      2. You spelt there wrong.

      3. I have to agree with you. I am over 60 & I can remember using
        the expression “reemo supremo” back in the day. Just goes to show there’s nothing new under the sun!!

      4. steve blackpool Avatar
        steve blackpool

        very true i have been saying it coming up to 40 years now and i still do to my friends

      5. My pals and I used it in the late 50s and early 60s and I’m 71 now !
        TOWIE is definitely not REEM !

      6. Haha. Well said.

        Sent from my iPhone

      7. Towie is the most reem show ivr ever seen

    2. reem means a deer
      by the way my names not reem but my friends name is

      1. reem means a baby deer( رىم) im happy my name is reem

  2. Obviously I know what the “Arabic” word means… but I dont think Dutch and Israeli male names have anything to do with Arabic female names. Which is why one needs to search for older meanings and usages, try and get to the “roots” of a word. There is even a sanskrit connection to “reem” and there is a “reema” name popular in India.

    1. Nice update mate, but also somwhere in Europe during WWII there were soldiers called Reem, some have it as their first name but mostly it’s their mid/last name.

      haha because my name is Reem and I’m from Qatar so in here it means the dear, which actually sucks! cause hears are weak but they called it reem as how beautiful the dear is. hahahaha

      1. I feel “reem” is a “semitic” word more ancient than Arabic…as it was used in Hebrew. I guess over the years, from the “rhino” it has been confused with Deer/Gazelle thanks to the “horn” vs “antler” mix.

    2. Yes true the root of the word its an arabic word reem or rym or reym what ever the spelling for the arabic name ريم which is come from the the word رئم
      and arab change it from رئم to ريم which is softer pronunciation and the meaning of this word is kind loving gentle beautiful name very beautiful and i read that also its a arabic name for a bright star

    3. Aaa hidistanda Reema ismi mi kullanılıyor. Saşirdim cünkü genelde arap ülkelerinde kullanılan bir isimdir bu arada benim de ismim Reem

      1. Evet, “Reema” Hindustan’da da kullanılıyor, ancak çoğu kişi tarafından kullanılmıyor. Sanskrit dilinde kökleri vardır ve “sınırsız güç” anlamına gelir.

  3. Means buff, its from the only way is essex

    1. tony, i think that is “ream”…? but its interesting the word “reem” has suddenly gotten in to pop usage!

  4. A REEM is actually colloquial 1980’s gay slang for a really attractive and sexy petite gay/rent boy it was also spelt RIM but was always pronounced phonetically as REEM, ie “he is a real REEM” probably from the fact that he would probably get a good REEMING because of his looks.

    To be fair I don’t think Joey Essex realy thought his new catch phrase through and I have the feeling that if the Gay community get hold of it again it could quite easily backfire on him, Joey dear chap it always pays to do you homework first, LOL, especially when choosing a catchphrase that you might get stuck with, unless there is something you not telling us LOL.

    I have just googled Joey Essex and I don’t think you will like the rumor that is page ranked second, perhaps time to have a quick rethink of using the term REEM.

    Just wondering if Kirk Norcross knows that the REEM Parties event at Sugarhut on Sunday is now being gorilla promoted as as an underground gay night/party night, don’t know if he or his father would be to pleased if they did.

    Anyway, Glad to set the record straight, Love what you doing,

    XO, XO, – Ashe,

    1. Ashe,

      Thanks for reading my blog.

      I agree with you about the 80’s gay slang..but the word is spelt (like you rightly said) as “RIM” (though pronounced “reem”) .

      Pop slang usage keeps changing… the word “gay” itself, once meant something different in the 50s comapred to today..

      I think the TOWIE show is trying to “contribute” to pop culture…and u have Joey mouthing “new” words…

      The new “Reem” has got viral into a big way (thanks to facebook).

      Now what do the millions of people on earth do from India, Israel, middle east, Holland etcwhose ACTUAL name is the semitic “Reem” ? 🙂

      regards, Reem

    2. All bollocks

  5. oh my god reem, you must be jell – so shaad up 🙂

  6. reem/ream meaning ‘good’ isn’t new, loads of people i knew used it in the mid 90s. in islington and camden (central london).

    1. The word ‘reem’ was used by a lots of the graffiti community back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, mainly in London (West).
      It was used to denote a good graffiti piece – it means good!
      It’s an old word! And i can not believe its being looked at as a new word derived from Essex plonkers.

    1. no u are its not fair for u to say that u make the people with the name reemm sad just say words bout urself my freind is reem and she is sokind so learn how to have respect by the way it comes back to you.

  7. I first heard the word in the film The Business starring Danny Dyer which was has been around for ages. He said “your looking reem Charlie” and was making a reference to him looking good, sharp or the dogs b#llocks!

    1. Agree with you Paul. the word isn’t new & has been in usage for ages.
      Just that it has gained massive popularity suddenly because of that reality tv show.

    2. Hmm…that was 2006; but remember The Business was actually filmed about the goings on of late 80’s Spain, so Patah may be closer to the truth…with word in question being on west-London flyovers well before this watery offering that is ‘TOWIE’ today. I live in Belfast now, for God’s sake and I heard a dizzy barmaid say it frequently one Friday night – all well and good, but with a Derry accent; my Guinness took on a different taste altogether!

  8. […] (For more information on any other meanings of the word REEM, have a look at this article.) […]

  9. Joey Essex is a typical example of a clueless, talentless and uneducated individual.
    The term is not ‘reem’ but ‘reme’ and is short for Supreme.

  10. Mickey Skinner Avatar
    Mickey Skinner

    Ream is a word that has been used in the Market Trading/Wide Boy community for many, many years, meaning; Great, Fantastic, Beautiful, Mint, Pucka, Top Class and alike.

  11. A reamer is a tool to enlarge a hole as in ‘to ream’. It has a tapered round shaft rather like a rat tailed file and can be fitted to an electric drill to smooth and make a hole bigger. Reaming tool – try Googling it.

    Thus “Cor, I could ream that!” was an old phrase that had its obvious connotations. Joey, not the brightest of sparks, thinks he looks so gorgeous he could ‘ream’ himself. Good luck Dude, go for it. I’m not going to try to stop you.

    1. Please you have to accept the idea of differences for ex: name nicole and nick mean fuck in arabic dictionary Name paul mean urine
      And the name tess mean goat And all are not slangs it is in the dictionary but arab culture accept it and love these name because they understand the meaning is different
      but if this ppl nichol nick or paul and tiss come to 90 years old man or women in the past century they may be refused to pronounce their name its about a civilisation and accept new cultures

  12. My name is Reem and it means a baby dear in arabic – not what u mentioned

    1. My dear, scroll down till the end, I have mentioned the ‘deer’ (or ‘gazelle’) part. But that is only the modern ‘arabic’ version..not even the older Semitic root one. A word has multiple meanings basis usage.

  13. If the vacuuous non talet that is Joey Essex is intent on staying in the closet, can we at least ensure it is airtight

  14. my name is reem and its mean a dear or a gazal in arabic ,but its so interesting 2 read these meanings

  15. Ream is a victorian slang word for , good, superior , as in a ream flash pull which a thief would say to describe a touch or successful robbery

  16. ‘in the Dutch nation, its used for males (Ex: Eric van Reem).’

    In this example Reem would simply be a surname… which will be obviously passed on and has absolutely nothing to do with male or female…. And ‘in the Netherlands’ would be better than the Dutch nation? It’s just a country bro.

    1. Well, do they now name new babies Reem? i feel that it’s old though.
      by the way I’m Reem and it’s an truly arabic name!

      1. I agree that right now it “Reem” is mostly in use in Middle East. But you will be surprised with lots of “Reem” + “Reema” in use in India, from Catholics, to Bengalis as well as Muslims.

  17. To be honest with you ream is just another loom in an endless almost monthly change over/ conveyor belt of ESSEX slang. For instance and Hair cut 2 years ago was a barent harvesting, last year was a barnet bash, and this year it’s known as a bush whack.

    I now live in Wales and already feel 2months out of date, because I can’t understand any one form back home.

    1. Agree with you Adam.

  18. I thought Ream was a block of paper :o)

  19. I am Confused i think reem just is a made up word but who knows i am probarly wrong :L

  20. the word ream is a saying going back to 1976 which i can remember its a blackpool saying meaning great something fantastic .you can say ream or double ream or reammmmmmmmm depending on your excitment

  21. OMG yes double reem I had forgotten about double reem lol. I am 50 now and I was using the word reem in my late teens to describe somthing as good, looking smart and expensive. The nearest this word got to the middle east then was the middle of East St market, Walworth. I have tried explaining to young people that this is not a new word and Joey Essex probably heard this word used by his family as he grew up.
    x x x

    1. well said sue

  22. As an Islingtonian I always understood it to be “reAm” and it certainly predates TOWIE.

    My understanding was that it originated from either fleet street or the old printworks of Clarkenwell and referring to a ream of paper (500 sheets) as a perfect ream and somewhere the slang use took off.

    1. ream answer Harold.

    2. this is also possible…. but Sue’s answer above makes sense as well..

  23. i dont watch towie but ino about it but i still dont understand what you mean by reem???? is it like being vain??

    1. steve blackpool Avatar
      steve blackpool

      the word reem is a made up word over 35 years to my knowlege which means anything great

  24. if i watched ‘towie’ then i would of known what reem meant because i dont watch it i didnt know what it meant!

  25. i have not watched ;towie; either but know and use the word reem which means something great,enjoyable ,good , or better than the rest

  26. My husband got given a teeshirt as a present from a (rather bizarre) friend which said “Don’t be jel, be reem”. I was interested to know what that phrase meant, because even though I’ve seen TOWIE, I still didn’t know the meaning of “reem” exactly. Thanks for the info – basically his friend wants him to wear a shirt that says “don’t be jealous, be a pure white antelope”. He can wear it as pyjamas I think!

  27. Apparently reem or ream may have dated as far back as the 19th century, short for cream or creme meaning good.

    ” L.L. cramum “cream,” which is perhaps from Gaulish. Replaced O.E. ream. Re-borrowed 19c. from French as creme. Figurative sense of “most excellent element or part” is from 1580s,”

    (D.McCormack 2001-2012, Online Etymology Dicthionary, Douglas Harper.

  28. REEEEEMARKABLE!!! (Don’t you think?!)

  29. My name is Reem, and I was born in Iraq. All my life I hated my name, because it was so hard for people to understand. To this day, it leaves an impression on people, and leaves me with embeds amount of questions. My mom has always told me that my name means the baby deer or Gazelle simply because of their beauty. I have no idea why, but I guess they also represent purity/innocence. Anyways, I wish it wasn’t so hard for starbuks to understand my name tho! Oh, it also sucks that I will never find a pre-made key chains. All in all, this has helped me help others understand my name. Thanks!

    1. Reem, at least you are Arab.. imagine explaining this name in india 🙂
      and yes, it is frustrating when people struggle to pronounce a 4 letter name like REEM..and even misspell it believe it or not!

      1. So is this your post? and yes I believe it. I’ve been dealing with it all my life. By the way, are you Arab yourself?

      2. Yep.. this is my blog
        Am not an Arab..but Indian.. a lot of “Reema”s in India but very few “Reem”s.

  30. it is the sweetest name reem do not even think it is weird this name very special even Arabic queens and Arabic princess a lot of them their name is reem it is noble name and for elegant person just like you.
    your mom

    1. Thank you MOM! 🙂

  31. Is it reem as in to reem someones arsehole with your tongue to give them sexual pleasure? Oh no, that’s rim isn’t it.

  32. this makes no scence to me i am a little girl who wants to know the meaning of the word reem because my friends all say it at school and i dont have a clue what it means

    please reply so i know what it means

    1. when i was young and still today say reem,in the english dictionary it will say 500 pieces of paper , but your freinds say reem as something good ,eg something very good as happened to you ,or you have done something that was nice to you ,you see something great ,you maybe have eaten food which was lovely you would say that was reem ,if it was very good you would say that was double reem .i hope you have a reem time saying reem

      1. Harold MonkFish Avatar
        Harold MonkFish

        Or even more of a good time saying Ream ;D

    2. in uk its a word mean cool sexy gorgeous but in other part of word its feminin name mean beautiful elegant like gazalle and in arbic dectionary the word that word reem orginated from is mean loving kind lady

  33. you said it reem Harold

  34. my name is reem and my name means deer !!

  35. Er… “White raisins of crystal clarity?” That IS a joke, right?

  36. ‘reem’ is a word used muchly by some klingons in star trek the undiscovered country. it seems to be spoken as an interogative end of the sentence like ‘blah di blah, ‘reem? reem?’ .. waddaya mean, kilingdon is fictional? 😦

  37. Trentbridge Troll Avatar
    Trentbridge Troll

    The Ska Group The English Beat in the 1980s used this word in there song
    Ranking Full Stop
    Opening line ” Reem come forward ”
    check it out on you tube .
    Reem as far as I can make out is the fit or attractive .

  38. Harold Monkfish Avatar
    Harold Monkfish

    The first line is “rankin’ come forward”

  39. I always thought reem/ream was in reference to giving someone a “good talking to” or to pretty much f*ck with them.
    Like, in The Breakfast Club, for example:
    Andrew’s dad: “Hey, I screwed around…guys screw around, there’s nothing wrong with that. Except you got caught, Sport.”
    Sporto/Andrew: “Yeah, Mom already reamed me, alright?”
    … & then Andrew’s dad proceeds to “ream” him as understand it…

    I am so VERY confused. :/

    1. the saying ( ream) means something that is better than good .eg if you had a good meal and really enjoyed it you would say that meal was ream

      s keeton


  40. Reem first used by Danny dyed in the movie the business

  41. It’s a corruption of the old Victorian slang (spelled Ream) that means ‘upstanding Gentleman of good character’.

  42. It’s difficult to find educated people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

    1. you are welcome Patrick.

  43. If you ask me, the actual definition of the word Reem, as pronounced in Essex, particularly when Joey was looking in the mirror, is ‘an empty void between two ears’.

  44. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Patrick Willis Jersey.


  45. Geezers you ‘ave it all wrong.
    I’ve been having a butchers and can’t see none ov you who ‘ave got it right, Remarkable

    Yes thats it guv. Reem = Remarkable

    Try it, it fits, loads ‘ere say it means summin’ good.

    Your looking reem (remarkable)
    Keep cool Stay reem (remarkable)

    An it don’t matter that o’ver words are spelt the same or close, or names and foreign lingo sound like it.

    Don’t know if Joey said he made it up but it’s been around donkeys. He may have heard it as a child.

    ME, I woz dragged up in Dagenham…..Essex.
    Home of the Dagenham dustbins as we used to call motors from the Ford Factory. (some messed up or incomplete due to all the strikes)
    This was an insult to the dustbins as our metal dustbin lasted over 50 years.

    And John Hooton Photography you might be thinking of a good routing as in the wood tool.

  46. I want to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly loved every bit
    of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…

  47. Hey guys, I know this sounds weired but I have seen the word REEM in my dream painted in blood next to 666.
    This is not the whole story, the weird thing I wasn’t sleep at all!!! I’m 100% positive about that… I turned the lights off and got in my bed then something happened to me, my dark room flashed and I felt a cold air flowing under my worm blanket then I got completely paralyzed, honestly I wasn’t able to move even my lips for almost 5 minutes.
    during my hopeless suffering to move my hands or feet, or at least my lips I saw a sparrow next to my bed and I had this irresistible idea in my head that this little bird must die, I grabbed it from the legs and hit it on the wall twice and then I throw it in the garbage but when I turned to look if it left any mark on the wall I saw the 666 and the word REEM.

    I know this is strange I couldn’t beleive it my self, but I’m certain about what I saw and that I wasn’t sleep when it started all the way through until I finally moved after feeling of warmth started on my feet moving up to my mouth like there was something inside my body got out from the mouth.

    I don’t know why I’m telling you this story, but I liked to share it…

  48. […] you’re reading this, you’re obviously reem. Because what’s more amaze than glamping in Essex, TOWIE […]

  49. Hi i do my research too and if you can understand arabic i can tell you the origin of reem name “ريم” which is orginaly is “رئم” and they make it more soft by changing ئ with ي and this word mean kind gentle and loving like a mother.

  50. […] hard to imagine that amongst the fake tan, “reem” cars and white stillettos that there is a world past Sugar Hut in Essex. Unfortunately […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s