hem and haw


chiefly US, informal
: to stop often and change what one is saying during speech because one is not sure of what to say or because one is trying to avoid saying something
The question surprised her and she hemmed and hawed a bit before answering.
: to take a long time before making a decision about what to do
The city council hemmed and hawed for a year before deciding to build the new school.

Examples of hem and haw in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both chefs impressed the judges, who hemmed and hawed over their favorite before eventually choosing Manny’s dish in a narrow win. Rachel Bernhard, Journal Sentinel, 1 May 2024 And after hemming and hawing for a few years, the Justice Department decided not to spend time retrying the case. Rita Braver, CBS News, 8 Oct. 2023 The German and French governments hem and haw about whether to provide Ukraine with tanks. Daniel Altman, Foreign Affairs, 12 July 2022 Marcus had to ask twice as LaCour hemmed and hawed. Kyle Whitmire | Kwhitmire@al.com, al, 16 Aug. 2023 Nor does slow-walking weapons deliveries to Ukraine while hemming and hawing over Ukraine’s future in NATO. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 17 June 2023 Here, lawyers and legal experts tend to hem and haw. Abram Brown, Forbes, 7 June 2022 In the meantime, congratulations on making big, brave leaps of faith some people hem and haw about for years and never actually live out. Elaine Welteroth, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2022 This leads their surrogate mom Caro (Melissa McBride), at this point defined by doing ugly jobs that other characters ethically hem and haw about, to do in Lizzie. Daniel Dockery, Vulture, 14 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hem and haw.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near hem and haw

Cite this Entry

“Hem and haw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hem%20and%20haw. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on hem and haw

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!