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from stem to stern

Definition of from stem to stern

  1. :  from one end of a ship or boat to the other <We scrubbed her down from stem to stern.> —often used figuratively <We cleaned the house from stem to stern.>

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  the main trunk of a plant

    :  a primary plant axis that develops buds and shoots instead of roots

    :  a plant part (as a branch, petiole, or stipe) that supports another (as a leaf or fruit)

  1. :  to make headway against (as an adverse tide, current, or wind)

    :  to check or go counter to (something adverse)

  1. :  to remove the stem from

    :  to make stems for (as artificial flowers)

    :  to occur or develop as a consequence :  have or trace an origin

  1. :  to stop or dam up (as a river)

    :  to stop or check by or as if by damming

    :  stanch

  1. :  check, dam

    :  an act or instance of stemming on skis

  1. :  having a definite hardness or severity of nature or manner :  austere

    :  expressive of severe displeasure :  harsh

    :  forbidding or gloomy in appearance

  1. :  the rear end of a boat

    :  a hinder or rear part :  the last or latter part

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up from stem to stern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).