stem

noun (1)
\ ˈstem \

Definition of stem 

(Entry 1 of 6)

1a : the main trunk of a plant specifically : a primary plant axis that develops buds and shoots instead of roots

b : a plant part (such as a branch, petiole, or stipe) that supports another (such as a leaf or fruit)

c : the complete fruiting stalk of a banana plant with its bananas

2a : the main upright member at the bow of a ship

b : the bow or prow of a ship — compare stern

3 : a line of ancestry : stock especially : a fundamental line from which others have arisen

4 : the part of an inflected word that remains after the inflected part is removed strength is the stem of strengths also : root sense 6

5 : something held to resemble a plant stem: such as

a : a main or heavy stroke of a letter

b : the short perpendicular line extending from the head of a musical note

c : the part of a tobacco pipe from the bowl outward

d : the cylindrical support of a piece of stemware (such as a goblet)

e : a shaft of a watch used for winding

from stem to stern

stem

verb (1)
stemmed; stemming

Definition of stem (Entry 2 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : to make headway against (something, such as an adverse tide, current, or wind)

2 : to check or go counter to (something adverse)

stem

verb (2)
stemmed; stemming

Definition of stem (Entry 3 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : to remove the stem from

2 : to make a stem for (something, such as an artificial flower)

intransitive verb

: to occur or develop as a consequence : have or trace an origin her success stems from hard work

stem

verb (3)
stemmed; stemming

Definition of stem (Entry 4 of 6)

transitive verb

1a : to stop or dam up (something, such as a river)

b : to stop or check by or as if by damming especially : stanch stem a flow of blood

2 : to turn (a ski) in stemming

intransitive verb

1 : to restrain or check oneself also : to become checked or stanched

2 : to slide the heel of one ski or of both skis outward usually in making or preparing to make a turn

stem

noun (2)

Definition of stem (Entry 5 of 6)

1 : check, dam

2 : an act or instance of stemming on skis

\ ˈstem \

Definition of STEM (Entry 6 of 6)

science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from stem

Verb (1)

stemmer noun

Verb (2)

stemmer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for stem

Verb (2)

spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence. spring implies rapid or sudden emerging. an idea that springs to mind arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent. new questions have arisen slowly rose to prominence originate implies a definite source or starting point. the fire originated in the basement derive implies a prior existence in another form. the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception. words flowed easily from her pen issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet. blood issued from the cut emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (such as a thought) from a source. reports emanating from the capital proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause. advice that proceeds from the best of intentions stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development. industries stemming from space research

First Known Use of stem

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1724, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stem

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English stefn, stemn stem of a plant or ship; akin to Old High German stam plant stem and probably to Greek stamnos wine jar, histanai to set — more at stand

Verb (1)

Middle English (Scots) stemmen to keep a course, from stem entry 1 (of a ship)

Verb (2)

stem entry 1 (of a plant)

Verb (3)

Middle English stemmen to dam up, from Old Norse stemma; akin to Middle High German stemmen to dam up and probably to Lithuanian stumti to shove

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stem

Phrases Related to stem

stem from

stem the tide

Statistics for stem

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stem

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stem

stem

noun
\ ˈstem \

Kids Definition of stem

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : the main stalk of a plant that develops buds and shoots and usually grows above ground

2 : a thin plant part (as a leafstalk) that supports another part a cherry's stem

3 : the bow of a ship

4 : the basic part of a word to which prefixes or suffixes may be added

5 : something like a stalk or shaft the stem of a goblet … Henry and Jake both pushed the stems of their stopwatches down … —Walter Farley, The Black Stallion

from stem to stern

: in or to every part : thoroughly

stem

verb
stemmed; stemming

Kids Definition of stem (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : to make progress against The boat was able to stem the current.

2 : to check or hold back the progress of New safety rules stemmed the increase in accidents.

stem

verb
stemmed; stemming

Kids Definition of stem (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : to develop as a consequence of His illness stems from an accident.

2 : to come from : derive The word “misty” stems from “mist.”

3 : to remove the stem from stem cherries

stem

verb
stemmed; stemming

Kids Definition of stem (Entry 4 of 4)

: to stop or check by or as if by damming We were able to stem the flow of blood.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on stem

What made you want to look up stem? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!