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
hemmed; hemming

Definition of hem (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1a : to finish with a hem
2 : to surround in a restrictive manner : confine usually used with inhemmed in by enemy troops

intransitive verb

: to make a hem in sewing
\ 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 Six Juki sewing machines can be rented out — $14.99 for four hours for members, $19.99 for nonmembers — including one especially for hems and seams and another for zigzag stitching. BostonGlobe.com, "Fashion incubator aims to be a one-stop for new designers - The Boston Globe," 28 Oct. 2019 The top, which came from the Pakistani brand Élan, featured intricate black embroidery on the chest, hem, and sleeves. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Wears Two Black and White Looks for Her Last Day in Pakistan," 18 Oct. 2019 His mother sewed in a factory making zippers, hems and pockets; his father worked with Rafael’s grandfather at a lumber mill. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "A family with roots in the Seattle region starts over in Mexico," 24 Sep. 2019 Duchess Kate dressed aptly for the sporting event, wearing a striped Sandro top with frilled details on the sleeves and hem. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Rocks a Striped Sandro Top at the King's Cup Regatta," 8 Aug. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Harry, who leads with his instincts, sees his older brother as being hemmed in by protocol as the future monarch. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Prince William Is ‘Worried’ About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle After Emotional Documentary," 21 Oct. 2019 At the time, Mrs. May was hemmed in by the Democratic Unionists, who exerted a strong influence over the hard-line, pro-Brexit faction of the Conservative Party. Mark Landler, New York Times, "A Brexit Deal in Hand, Boris Johnson Faces an Uphill Struggle in Parliament," 17 Oct. 2019 The shelves can be hemmed in by bumps and walls in the ocean floor. Fox News, "Antarctica ice shelves' edges being attacked by warm ocean water, new study reveals," 11 Oct. 2019 The Kashmir valley is hemmed in by the Himalayas at the northern extreme of the country, far from most Indians’ thoughts and experience. The Economist, "The courts’ refusal to curb repression in Kashmir," 5 Oct. 2019 But usually their ambitions have been hemmed in by Washington, Berlin and London. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "While Washington is checked out, Macron is pushing to lead the Western world," 28 Sep. 2019 If the groups escalate their activities in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia would be hemmed in from all sides by factions with weapons similar to the ones used in Abqaiq. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Saudi Arabia says it’s ‘willing and able’ to respond to Iran. Is it?," 20 Sep. 2019 Even the licensed rallies have been hemmed in by massive, intimidating police presence. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fury at elections snub brings Moscow’s professionals back to politics," 22 Aug. 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The shelves can be hemmed in by bumps and walls in the ocean floor. Fox News, "Antarctica ice shelves' edges being attacked by warm ocean water, new study reveals," 11 Oct. 2019 Oregon’s Republicans weren’t the only ones who hemmed and hawed on the issue of impeachment throughout the summer of 1974. oregonlive, "Will GOP stick with Donald Trump? Oregon delegation’s Watergate actions suggest break with president won’t happen soon," 1 Oct. 2019 Even the licensed rallies have been hemmed in by massive, intimidating police presence. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fury at elections snub brings Moscow’s professionals back to politics," 22 Aug. 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 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 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

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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Statistics for hem

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce hem- (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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