hem and haw

idiom

chiefly US, informal
1
: 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.
2
: 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.

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Cite this Entry

“Hem and haw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hem%20and%20haw. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

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