hem and haw

Definition of hem and haw

chiefly US, informal

  1. 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. 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.

Word by Word Definitions

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

    :  rim, margin

  1. :  to finish with a hem

    :  border, edge

    :  to surround in a restrictive manner :  confine

  1. :  to utter the sound represented by hem

    :  equivocate

  1. : often used to indicate a vocalized pause in speaking

  1. :  a hawthorn berry

    :  hawthorn

  1. :  nictitating membrane

    :  an inflamed nictitating membrane of a domesticated mammal

  1. : often used to indicate a vocalized pause in speaking

  1. :  to utter the sound represented by haw

    :  equivocate

  1. : used as a direction to turn to the left

    :  to turn to the near or left side


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