hem

noun
\ ˈhem How to pronounce hem (audio) \

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 How to pronounce hem (audio) \
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 How to pronounce hem (audio) \

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

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 Look for work shirts with a shorter hem too, so they can be worn untucked. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 6 May 2022 At the 2021 American Music Awards in November, the star sparkled in a periwinkle David Koma dress with dramatic feathered hem. Lindy Segal, PEOPLE.com, 3 Apr. 2022 The Korean-Australian singer wore a strapless knee-length dress covered in iridescent crystals, with a sheer skirt and black fringe on the hem, finishing the look with sheer tights and black platform ankle boots. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Mar. 2022 Complementing this intricate mise-en-scène and the cast’s fiercely physical performances is cinematography that lingers on textural details: the hem of a wedding dress, the pudgy foot of a newborn, the snowy brilliance of Korean white rice. Judy Berman, Time, 25 Mar. 2022 Speaking of pom poms, this sage green duvet cover set is adorned with them on the hem of the cover and shams for cozy detailing. Lily Gray, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Mar. 2022 Available in black and a bright red, the short-sleeve mini dress features a flare hem. Isabel Garcia, PEOPLE.com, 12 Mar. 2022 While one series of gowns sported possibly the most unusual hem ever presented in Paris: A car. Thomas Adamson, ajc, 4 Mar. 2022 Or the Saint Laurent tweedy number with a faux-fur hem? Steff Yotka, Vogue, 25 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Brothy toast needs walls to hem in all of its runny goodness, a little hug around the food that keeps it together. Kendra Vaculin, Bon Appétit, 10 May 2022 The Russian leader, who was speaking at a Tuesday news conference alongside Hungary’s prime minister, also accused the United States and NATO of using Ukraine to hem in Russia and ignoring Moscow’s security concerns. Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2022 The moderates would hem them in, leave Democrats empty-handed except for their initial effort to ward off the pandemic. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 If the virus effectively stands still, the increase in the rollout of vaccines worldwide that is projected to take place over the next half year or so could start to hem the virus in. Helen Branswell, STAT, 20 Sep. 2021 All that’s to say, Hoshikawa is already planning on bribing her sister, a Parsons design student, to hem it for her. refinery29.com, 18 Aug. 2021 Here, there’s a coffee shop and an outdoor public terrace that opens to views of the main library and the skyscrapers that hem in Bryant Park. New York Times, 4 July 2021 After the soldiers continued to hem in Al-Aqsa, Hamas began launching rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, 12 May 2021 As Jabez and Christopher grew older – and their pants grew shorter – their mom showed them how to cut and hem the pants into shorts for the summer months. Heather L. Whitley, Southern Living, 30 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Brothy toast needs walls to hem in all of its runny goodness, a little hug around the food that keeps it together. Kendra Vaculin, Bon Appétit, 10 May 2022 The Russian leader, who was speaking at a Tuesday news conference alongside Hungary’s prime minister, also accused the United States and NATO of using Ukraine to hem in Russia and ignoring Moscow’s security concerns. Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2022 The moderates would hem them in, leave Democrats empty-handed except for their initial effort to ward off the pandemic. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 If the virus effectively stands still, the increase in the rollout of vaccines worldwide that is projected to take place over the next half year or so could start to hem the virus in. Helen Branswell, STAT, 20 Sep. 2021 All that’s to say, Hoshikawa is already planning on bribing her sister, a Parsons design student, to hem it for her. refinery29.com, 18 Aug. 2021 Here, there’s a coffee shop and an outdoor public terrace that opens to views of the main library and the skyscrapers that hem in Bryant Park. New York Times, 4 July 2021 After the soldiers continued to hem in Al-Aqsa, Hamas began launching rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, 12 May 2021 As Jabez and Christopher grew older – and their pants grew shorter – their mom showed them how to cut and hem the pants into shorts for the summer months. Heather L. Whitley, Southern Living, 30 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About hem

Time Traveler for hem

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near hem

helzel

hem

hem-

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hem

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hem. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hem

hem

noun
\ ˈhem How to pronounce hem (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on hem

Nglish: Translation of hem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hem for Arabic Speakers

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