hem

noun
\ˈhem \

Definition of hem 

(Entry 1 of 5)

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

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

hem

verb (1)
hemmed; hemming

Definition of hem (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : to finish with a hem

b : border, edge

2 : to surround in a restrictive manner : confine usually used with in hemmed in by enemy troops

intransitive verb

: to make a hem in sewing

hem

verb (2)
\ˈhem \
hemmed; hemming

Definition of hem (Entry 3 of 5)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter the sound represented by hem hemmed and hawed before answering

2 : equivocate the administration hemmed and hawed over the students' demands

\ usually read as ˈhem \

Definition of hem (Entry 4 of 5)

often used to indicate a vocalized pause in speaking

variants: or hemo-

Definition of hem- (Entry 5 of 5)

: blood hemagglutination hemoflagellate

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Other Words from hem

Verb (1)

hemmer noun

Examples of hem in a Sentence

Noun

shorten the hem of the dress the hem of the blouse was gold

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Moss’s top was replete with eye-catching details: note the bow closure at the waist and pleated hem. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Kate Moss Knows Just How to Style the Fancy Going-Out Top," 13 June 2018 Online, the jumpsuit's description reveals that the item is fully waterproof, has a hem that's a little longer in the back to stop it from riding up, and comes in a relaxed fit. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "ASOS Is Selling a Rainproof Jumpsuit Designed for People Who Use Wheelchairs," 4 July 2018 With longer days come shorter evenings and abbreviated hem lines, all of which should be enjoyed in the company of a beau, and celebrated with an infusion of bold beauty. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Chrissy Teigen's Endless Leg Reveal is a Lesson in New Mom Bombshell," 28 June 2018 Now more than 150 years since Victoria’s popular wedding gown first debuted, the overall social conditions that existed during its creation are dramatically different, yet the dress hem-lines and conservative style has largely remained the same. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Dress Could Make a Feminist Statement," 18 May 2018 Vertical rows of rhinestone trims began on either side of the front panel and encircled the dress from the bottom of the bodice to the top of the hem band. Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "Rex, Comus continue 100-plus year tradition at their Carnival balls," 14 Feb. 2018 Say hello to CIE Denim's upside-down shorts, which literally invert the fitted waistband and raw hem of a pair of vintage jorts to give you a whole new perspective on your old jean shorts. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "CIE Denim Created Upside-Down Shorts," 3 July 2018 Draper James Stripe Eyelet Ruffle Cotton Dress, $450; saksfifthavenue.com Magnolia Midi Dress The bold yellow hue, magnolia floral print and slight asymmetrical ruffle hem has this midi dress hitting all of our favorite spring trends. Kami Phillips, PEOPLE.com, "Reese Witherspoon's Draper James Line Just Launched the Prettiest Party Dresses at Saks," 27 Feb. 2018 Head towards the hem of Rome's gladiatorial skirts, where in a demi-lune building exists another vital piece of the puzzle: the high jewellery workshops. Alice B-b, A-LIST, "No Place Like Rome," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Army wants to keep Arlington going for at least another 150 years, but with no room to grow — the grounds are hemmed in by highways and development — the only way to do so is to significantly tighten the rules for who can be buried there. New York Times, "Arlington Cemetery, Nearly Full, May Become More Exclusive," 28 May 2018 Breaking from the rail in the Belmont will force Justify to jump out quickly in order to be in a spot where rivals won’t be able to hem him in, said Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert. Jim Chairusmi, WSJ, "Justify’s Triple Crown Hopes Come Down to the Start," 7 June 2018 One senior administration official who often sat in the backbenches of those meetings last week described Mr. Trump’s growing frustration at being hemmed in by his two principal national security cabinet members. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Under Pompeo, a Foreign Policy That Fits the President’s Worldview," 13 Mar. 2018 Life in the camp is also hemmed in by its own oppressive rules. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 The 40-mile-wide corridor is hemmed in by the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on one side and Belarus, a Russian ally, on the other. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "How U.S. troops could get stuck in a traffic jam on their way to fend off war with Russia," 24 June 2018 Jones was hemmed along the sideline, with Mills covering him from the front side. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Eagles, Falcons may find their seasons defined by same play," 14 Jan. 2018 About 150 students spent several harrowing hours under siege inside the Church of the Divine Mercy, hemmed in by gunfire. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Two killed as pro-government militia traps protesters in Nicaraguan church," 14 July 2018 Some apartments had just a small balcony or a dark yard hemmed in by surrounding buildings. New York Times, "Trading Chelsea Clatter for Greenpoint Calm," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Cheung said the two sides are hemmed in by mutual distrust. David Pierson, latimes.com, "Facebook's tie-up with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei makes a bad situation worse," 6 June 2018 Life in the camp is also hemmed in by its own oppressive rules. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 About 150 students spent several harrowing hours under siege inside the Church of the Divine Mercy, hemmed in by gunfire. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Two killed as pro-government militia traps protesters in Nicaraguan church," 14 July 2018 Some apartments had just a small balcony or a dark yard hemmed in by surrounding buildings. New York Times, "Trading Chelsea Clatter for Greenpoint Calm," 5 July 2018 Breaking from the rail in the Belmont will force Justify to jump out quickly in order to be in a spot where rivals won’t be able to hem him in, said Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert. Jim Chairusmi, WSJ, "Justify’s Triple Crown Hopes Come Down to the Start," 7 June 2018 Many of the people Field photographed emphasized the temporary nature of living in this way, the gift of transience hemmed by the threat of eviction. New York Times, "Somewhere, Away From It All," 13 Jan. 2018 The whale-thing was still chugging along behind him, hemming him in. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A transgender girl rises up against alien invaders in Rich Larson’s novel Annex," 8 July 2018 There aren’t many false notes, but the imaginative scope is somewhat hemmed in by scenes that loiter rather than leap. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Review: Amanda Peet's 'Our Very Own Carlin McCullough': A tennis prodigy learns life's score," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hem

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Interjection

circa 1525, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hem

Noun

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

Interjection

imitative

Combining form

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

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Learn More about hem

Dictionary Entries near hem

helvite

Helxine

helzel

hem

hem-

hema-

hemachate

Phrases Related to hem

hem and haw

Statistics for hem

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hem

The first known use of hem was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hem

hem

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hem

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

hem

noun
\ˈhem \

Kids Definition of hem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a border of a cloth article made by folding back an edge and sewing it down

hem

verb
hemmed; hemming

Kids Definition of hem (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to finish with or make a hem I hemmed my skirt.

2 : surround sense 1 Our yard is hemmed in by trees.

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Comments on hem

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

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evasion of direct action or statement

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