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 This latest creation was a vampy black lace design, with a floor-length hem, long sleeves, and a sweetheart neckline (a departure for the Duchess, as the look’s darkly romantic undertone sits outside her usual aesthetic). Vogue, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Do Date Night Style—The Royal Way," 18 Nov. 2019 The collection was bursting with color: plums and pinks, tangerine and teal, while the hems of white dresses appeared as if dip-dyed with colorful flora. Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter, "Paris Fashion Week: Valentino Turns Up the Volume With Starry Front Row," 30 Sep. 2019 Sources explain that the thread for each cascading flower adorning the veil was hand cut every time, and the hem was also hand-cut for a more natural, waterfall look to match with the long sleeves of the dress. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "The Details in Sophie Turner's Louis Vuitton Wedding Dress Are Staggering," 5 July 2019 The jeans’ raw, uneven hems were ideal to show off Hadid’s strappy sandals. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Takes Cannes By Storm in Naughty-But-Nice Off-Duty Style," 15 May 2018 There was much artistry in its large ripples at the hem that resembled the delicate curved flesh of a rose petal. San Diego Union-Tribune, "McCartney presents eco-manifesto at Paris Fashion Week show," 30 Sep. 2019 The long sleeved, lightweight blouse comes in 25 beautiful colors and prints, has two different sleeve styles (lantern or bell) to choose from, and features a tie-front at the hem. Christina Butan, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelor in Paradise’s Hannah G. Modeled This $25 Amazon Blouse, and Now It’s Climbing the Best-Sellers Charts," 11 Sep. 2019 The viral set includes the Los Feliz blazer, an oversized jacket that reaches a tad below than the hem of the matching high-waisted Vista skirt. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Talks Her Sold-Out Skirt Suits and Wearing What You Want," 18 Nov. 2019 An American flag pin gleamed on his lapel and similarly-themed socks peeked from below the hem of his pants — blue and white stars on the left foot and red and white stripes on the right. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "First service members, then citizens: Naturalization ceremony, other Baltimore events honor Veterans Day," 11 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Like an increasing number of today’s musicians, trumpeter Alessi declines to be hemmed in by genre, instead weaving jazz, classical and experimental impulses into a distinctive whole. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Sheila Jordan, Paul Marinaro and Bach’s Mass in B Minor ignite this weekend," 12 Sep. 2019 Harry, who leads with his instincts, sees his older brother as being hemmed in by protocol as the future monarch. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Skipping Christmas with the Royal Family This Year," 13 Nov. 2019 The move hemmed in Lakeview Terrace in a way that segregated residents of the apartments, and later the 19-story tower constructed in the 1970s, from the rest of Ohio City. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "‘A once-in-a-generation opportunity:’ Could Whiskey Island truck traffic plan fix an environmental injustice for Lakeview Terrace residents?," 12 Nov. 2019 Florida State Prison is a monolithic, 1960s-era penitentiary hemmed in on all sides by level farmland and coils of razor wire. Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, "He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.," 4 Dec. 2019 Our leader this week argues that America’s decision makes peace less likely, and that Mr Trump has hemmed in whoever leads Israel next. The Economist, "Atlantic calm," 22 Nov. 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 The horizon line is the top of a tall, solid fence, hemming in a small, black figure hunkering down in the corner. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "Art day in L.A.: A walker’s guide to gallery hopping along Highland Avenue," 30 Sep. 2019 That was followed by a 32-yard touchdown run in which Pasadena’s defense had the Gander ballcarrier hemmed in behind the line of scrimmage. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Lee’s quickness proves to be a problem for Pasadena in scrimmage," 16 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bethlehem is only five miles from Jerusalem, is hemmed by Israeli settlements and disconnected from the Holy City by a 479 mile-long separation wall. Time, "Bethlehem Is Gearing Up for Its Busiest Christmas in Years. But the Town Is Also Worried," 19 Dec. 2019 When black families migrated to America’s largest cities in the early 20th century, a campaign of beatings, stonings, and arson hemmed them in. BostonGlobe.com, "Miracle on the Mystic: Chelsea, Everett, and the New American Dream," 11 Oct. 2019 Williams also hemmed him in at times and Mayfield had some passes batted down. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Freddie Kitchens on Baker Mayfield: ‘He’s taking too many hits’," 17 Sep. 2019 The move hemmed in Lakeview Terrace in a way that segregated residents of the apartments, and later the 19-story tower constructed in the 1970s, from the rest of Ohio City. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "‘A once-in-a-generation opportunity:’ Could Whiskey Island truck traffic plan fix an environmental injustice for Lakeview Terrace residents?," 12 Nov. 2019 The horizon line is the top of a tall, solid fence, hemming in a small, black figure hunkering down in the corner. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "Art day in L.A.: A walker’s guide to gallery hopping along Highland Avenue," 30 Sep. 2019 Like an increasing number of today’s musicians, trumpeter Alessi declines to be hemmed in by genre, instead weaving jazz, classical and experimental impulses into a distinctive whole. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Sheila Jordan, Paul Marinaro and Bach’s Mass in B Minor ignite this weekend," 12 Sep. 2019 This rugged slice of Tonto National Forest, situated south of Saguaro Lake and the Salt River, is hemmed in by State Route 88, the Superstition Wilderness, Four Peaks Wilderness, Usery Mountain Recreation Area and the Fort McDowell Reservation. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Get to know the rugged Goldfield Mountains on this not too tough hike with great views," 5 Dec. 2019 Florida State Prison is a monolithic, 1960s-era penitentiary hemmed in on all sides by level farmland and coils of razor wire. Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, "He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.," 4 Dec. 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

Time Traveler for hem

Time Traveler

The first known use of hem was before the 12th century

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Statistics for hem

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hem.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hems. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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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