Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

hem

play
noun \ˈhem\

Simple Definition of hem

  • : the edge of a piece of cloth that is folded back and sewn down

Full Definition of hem

  1. 1 :  a border of a cloth article doubled back and stitched down

  2. 2 :  rim, margin <bright green hem of reeds about the ponds — R. M. Lockley>

Examples of hem

  1. shorten the hem of the dress

  2. <the hem of the blouse was gold>



Origin of hem

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Middle High German hemmen to hem in, Armenian kamel to press


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with hem


2

hem

verb

Definition of hem

hemmedhem·ming

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to finish with a hem b :  border, edge

  3. 2 :  to surround in a restrictive manner :  confine —usually used with in <hemmed in by enemy troops>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to make a hem in sewing

hem·mer noun


14th Century

First Known Use of hem

14th century


3

hem

play
verb \ˈhem\

Definition of hem

hemmedhem·ming

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to utter the sound represented by hem <hemmed and hawed before answering>

  3. 2 :  equivocate <the administration hemmed and hawed over the students' demands>



15th Century

First Known Use of hem

15th century


4

hem

play
interjection \usually read as ˈhem\

Definition of hem

  1. —often used to indicate a vocalized pause in speaking



Origin of hem

imitative


hem-

combining form

Definition of hem-

  1. :  blood <hemagglutination> <hemoflagellate>



Variants of hem-

or hemo-

Origin of hem-

Latin haem-, haemo-, from Greek haim-, haimo-, from haima




Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift duvet pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ