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

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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

To make hood, cut along one side seam of pillowcase from hem edge to point, cutting in a curve. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Wizard Costume," 9 Sep. 2019 What if your interviewer hems and haws about answering, or comes across as distinctly unenthusiastic about the place? Anne Fisher, Fortune, "10 Questions to Ask In a Job Interview To Really Stand Out," 11 Sep. 2019 For Ma, use wire to fasten another stake to lower end of first stake so stake extends below hem of dress. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Ma and Pa Pumpkins," 9 Sep. 2019 Its bohemian, high-necked style comes in a variety of details, hems and sleeve lengths to help capture your inner modesty. Niki Mcgloster, Essence, "The Hottest Way To Slay Fall Fashion," 9 Sep. 2019 Then, add a low-heel pump in a bright color that peeks out from under the hem. Tyler Joe, Marie Claire, "How to Style Trouser Jeans," 12 Aug. 2019 And her veil required 48 hours of embroidery as the thread was hand-cut between each flower and the hem was hand-cut to create a natural and irregular finishing to match the sleeves. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Sophie Turner's One-of-a-Kind Louis Vuitton Wedding Dress Took More Than 350 Hours to Make," 5 July 2019 This midi dress features an adorable scalloped hem and sleeves, as well as a very nautical color blocking that’s absolutely eye-catching. Brittany Loggins, NBC News, "The best summer office dresses under $100," 5 July 2019 Fold the collar down toward the bottom hem to make a small rectangle. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How to Fold a Dress Shirt, Because Sometimes You Have To," 11 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mongla has a mere 40,000 people; his office is in a crumbling building hemmed in by forest. The Economist, "Bangladesh tries to muffle the siren song of the capital," 12 Sep. 2019 As with everything else in the Hamptons, lines are ineluctably drawn between haves and have-nots on the emerald green lawns of the 65-acre show grounds, hemmed by the hedges that are the area’s defining horticultural element. New York Times, "Where to Show Off Your $5 Million Horse," 31 Aug. 2019 Regardless of the aspirations of the property owner and the ambitions of local residents, many courses are invisibly hemmed in by long-standing zoning and land-use restrictions. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, "When suburban golf courses close, residents and cities often clash over what to do with the land. Some manage to avoid the drama.," 13 Aug. 2019 Better to be seen as a technology company building software than a financial firm constrained by regulation and hemmed in by much larger competitors. Owen Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Stop trying to make ‘fintech’ happen, Gretchen. It’s not going to happen," 10 July 2019 If outside linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb can hold the edge and force Jacobs back into traffic, the Broncos could hem him in. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Scouting Report: A look at Monday night’s game at Oakland," 8 Sep. 2019 The narrative largely keeps Banks quiet as viewers see the way the world hemmed in and shut up the one-time star prospect—until the third act, that is. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "'Brian Banks' Is a Sports Film for the Social Justice Era," 7 Aug. 2019 To hem curtains, lay them flat and fold the fabric back on itself. Washington Post, "Unsure of how to treat your windows? Experts offer advice to dress them in style.," 3 July 2019 Hollinshead Ward advises buying treatments with extra fabric in case more length is needed, then hemming them to fit. Washington Post, "Unsure of how to treat your windows? Experts offer advice to dress them in style.," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Shutterstock Back in 2014, the city of Portland, Oregon, hemmed and hawed over what to do with the Portland Building, Michael Graves’s 1980s ode to postmodernism. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Portland Building on track to be delisted from National Register of Historic Places," 17 June 2019 As with everything else in the Hamptons, lines are ineluctably drawn between haves and have-nots on the emerald green lawns of the 65-acre show grounds, hemmed by the hedges that are the area’s defining horticultural element. New York Times, "Where to Show Off Your $5 Million Horse," 31 Aug. 2019 When the levee breaks Glacial lakes form when glaciers thaw, their waters hemmed in by rocky barriers left over by ancient glaciers that once carved out the landscape. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Flash floods threaten more people than thought, as ice melts," 18 Apr. 2019 Mongla has a mere 40,000 people; his office is in a crumbling building hemmed in by forest. The Economist, "Bangladesh tries to muffle the siren song of the capital," 12 Sep. 2019 Hollinshead Ward advises buying treatments with extra fabric in case more length is needed, then hemming them to fit. Washington Post, "Unsure of how to treat your windows? Experts offer advice to dress them in style.," 3 July 2019 Tailor services — for example, to hem a skirt or alter a suit. cleveland.com, "Ohio charges sales tax on Amazon Prime memberships, a ton of other services: Money Matters," 12 June 2019 Millions commute through a dense urban landscape that has expanded over the centuries, built atop fertile plains hemmed in by volcanic mountains. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "Tokyo became a megacity by reinventing itself," 12 June 2019 Regardless of the aspirations of the property owner and the ambitions of local residents, many courses are invisibly hemmed in by long-standing zoning and land-use restrictions. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, "When suburban golf courses close, residents and cities often clash over what to do with the land. Some manage to avoid the drama.," 13 Aug. 2019

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

16 Oct 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 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.

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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

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