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

But this piece fit differently from shoulder to hem. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My Mother's '90s Dress From The Limited," 26 Dec. 2018 Think: a little black nylon dress with an off-kilter bubble hem worn with white heeled flip flops. Monica Kim, Vogue, "We11Done Went From Seoul to Berlin—To Make the World’s Chicest Bus Stop," 12 Dec. 2018 Many elderly Jews here still wear a piece of black cloth at the hem of their trousers, a sign of mourning for the ancient temple’s destruction. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 Stepping out with Prince Harry earlier in the day, Meghan wore a stunning wrap dress by Figue, which featured pom-pom and seashell details, as well as a striking, ruffled, asymmetrical hem. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Was Rushed by Security During Her Solo Visit to a Market in Suva," 24 Oct. 2018 The dress has straps and an uneven hem on an easy silhouette. Kavita Daswani, latimes.com, "Disney, Coach team up for their Dark Fairy Tale fashion collaboration, South Coast Plaza pop-up," 17 May 2018 Getty Images The Nicolas Jebran number had a plunging neckline and a very short hem. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner Wore a Fancy Sweater and No Pants to Dinner in Cannes," 14 May 2018 Mother Monster wore platform heels to keep the front hem of her dress from touching the ground, but her train dragged gloriously on the carpet. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Wears a Stunning Silver Givenchy Couture Dress at the A Star Is Born Premiere," 25 Sep. 2018 Part of the appeal, no doubt, is that with nary a V-neck or above-the-knee hem, Batsheva is very in sync with today’s modest dressing. Amanda Fitzsimons, Glamour, "Batsheva Hay Is Redefining Sexy—With Prairie Dresses," 2 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her makeup is expertly applied, but somehow seems looser; the pigments aren't hemmed in by the keen-edged eyeliner and lip liner that midcentury fashions demanded. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Marin Hinkle On the Scene That Gave Her Hives," 8 Dec. 2018 Gustavus is about 20 minutes from Juneau by air — a four-to-six-hour-long ferry also runs twice weekly in summer — yet because it is hemmed in on all sides by snowy mountains, feels a million miles from anywhere. Mark Adams, New York Times, "A D.I.Y. Trip Through Alaska’s Inside Passage," 21 May 2018 Either way, many thank goodnesses that Kate was able to hem-check! Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Avoided a Wardrobe Malfunction at Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 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 According to Pembleton, Goodman had hemmed and hawed about calling 911. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Too Much Horsepower," 24 Dec. 2012 They have been hemmed in by Israeli and Egyptian blockades since 2007, when Hamas, a militant Islamist group, took control of Gaza. The Economist, "Deadly protests on Gaza’s border with Israel," 17 May 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 Follett eventually married fellow adventurer Nick Rogers but ended up living a hemmed-in existence of working a secretarial job in Boston. S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘The Art of Vanishing: A Memoir of Wanderlust,’ by Laura Smith," 22 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Despite the weekly bump higher, the total remains hemmed inside a rather tight, four-month-old range between 858 and 869. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Prices Rebound on Strong Global Demand," 14 Sep. 2018 Her makeup is expertly applied, but somehow seems looser; the pigments aren't hemmed in by the keen-edged eyeliner and lip liner that midcentury fashions demanded. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Marin Hinkle On the Scene That Gave Her Hives," 8 Dec. 2018 Its grommet accents carried through in the hardware-heavy piece, from the snaps on the collar to the O-rings holding the split sleeve hems together. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Olé! Olé! Kendall Jenner Elevates Toreador Style in Paris," 23 July 2018 According to Pembleton, Goodman had hemmed and hawed about calling 911. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Too Much Horsepower," 24 Dec. 2012 Gustavus is about 20 minutes from Juneau by air — a four-to-six-hour-long ferry also runs twice weekly in summer — yet because it is hemmed in on all sides by snowy mountains, feels a million miles from anywhere. Mark Adams, New York Times, "A D.I.Y. Trip Through Alaska’s Inside Passage," 21 May 2018 Either way, many thank goodnesses that Kate was able to hem-check! Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Avoided a Wardrobe Malfunction at Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 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 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

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

Statistics for hem

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on hem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hem

Spanish Central: Translation of hem

Nglish: Translation of hem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hem for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hem

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