verb (1)
\ ˈtēm \
teemed; teeming; teems

Definition of teem 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to become filled to overflowing : abound

b : to be present in large quantity

2 obsolete : to become pregnant : conceive

transitive verb

archaic : bring forth : give birth to : produce


verb (2)
teemed; teeming; teems

Definition of teem (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: empty, pour teem molten metal into a mold

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Other words from teem

Verb (1)

teemingly \ˈtē-miŋ-lē \ adverb
teemingness noun

What is the difference between the verbs teem and team?

Verb (1)

If you want to describe an overflowing abundance of something, the word you are looking for is teem. We often see reference to "the teeming masses," "streets teeming with activity," or "forests teeming with life." You want the word team if you are trying to describe pairing two or more things in a coordinated ensemble ("she teamed the oxen together"), or forming some kind of partnership or association ("we are teaming with another organization this year").

Examples of teem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And on July 13th, the day after Mr Trump landed, Britain teemed with demonstrations as protesters took to streets and squares, from Exeter to Aberdeen. The Economist, "Donald Trump is greeted by protests across Britain," 13 July 2018 The crowd teemed with excitement as Dynamo forward Romell Quioto situated the ball for a corner kick from the right side of the field then launched the ball into the box. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo roll to shutout of Minnesota United," 8 July 2018 Among the remaining favorites in the World Cup are the multiethnic squads of France and Belgium, teeming with talent pulled from poorer suburbs populated by immigrants and minorities. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a celebration of cosmopolitanism, until it isn’t," 4 July 2018 Down the street is Golden Jackal, a shop teeming with old-Nevada ambience, vintage clothing and furnishings. Natasha Bourlin, SFChronicle.com, "Increasingly hip Midtown Reno has a glow that’s not from neon," 29 June 2018 As the nerve center for Baghdad’s expansive science set-up since the 1960s, Tuwaitha once teemed with thousands of specialists who kept the facility running day and night. Peter Schwartzstein, Smithsonian, "How Saddam and ISIS Killed Iraqi Science," 30 May 2018 For good measure, Burroughs later recounted for readers the exploits of Carson Napier on an equally-teeming planet Venus. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "3 books about planets," 18 May 2018 On one of my visits to Iris Street in early April, the sidewalks at the end of the block underneath the freeway were teeming with homeless people. San Francisco Chronicle, "“There is a suitcase full of human s— on the corner of Isis and 13th,” the email read. “Last night, I had to threaten violence to a man smoking crystal meth on my front porch. This morning, my 2-year-old son and I watched a rat rummage through the trash in our gutter.," 25 June 2018 In Florida, the natural world is teeming with terrors: coral snakes, alligators, sinkholes, extreme and ferocious weather. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Florida, Full of Dread," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With appearances from the USAF Thunderbirds and a bevy of other military and civilian aircraft guaranteed to keep the skies teeming. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Pride, Snow Tha Product and Robert Plant — the best of this week's arts and entertainment scene in Baltimore," 10 June 2018 However, Sky Harbor Airport isn’t exactly teeming with golf-club-carrying visitors to fill up those hotels at this time of year. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "8 reasons to love the Phoenix heat in summer," 14 July 2018 And on July 13th, the day after Mr Trump landed, Britain teemed with demonstrations as protesters took to streets and squares, from Exeter to Aberdeen. The Economist, "Donald Trump is greeted by protests across Britain," 13 July 2018 The forest around us teemed with mysterious life: the rustlings and chitterings, queries and flirtations of unseen creatures. Hillary Jordan, Outside Online, "Hillary Jordan on Her First Bear Encounter," 11 July 2018 Healthy soil should be teeming with microbes and worms and rich with decomposed organic matter (think: compost). Emily Hopkins, Cincinnati.com, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 July 2018 The Olympia exhibition center in West Kensington teemed with British publishers and editors, a cohort badly in need of stress relief these days. David Segal, New York Times, "British Book Publishers Fear Brexit Will Bring a U.S. Invasion," 13 Apr. 2018 Its primary airport, Ataturk, can barely accommodate its current teeming masses. New York Times, "Turkey’s Economy Is So Hot That It May Face a Meltdown," 10 July 2018 The upshot can be seen at the workshop of KR Metal Industries, a small-scale garment manufacturer in an industrial park in Lower Parel, a neighbourhood of Mumbai once known for its teeming textile mills. The Economist, "Culture and the labour market keep India’s women at home," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teem.' 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 teem

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for teem

Verb (1)

Middle English temen, from Old English tīman, tǣman; akin to Old English tēam offspring — more at team entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English temen, from Old Norse tœma; akin to Old English tōm empty

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Dictionary Entries near teem

tee iron

tee joint



teem down



Phrases Related to teem

teem down

teem with

teem with rain

Statistics for teem

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for teem

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

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More Definitions for teem


\ ˈtēm \
teemed; teeming

Kids Definition of teem

: to be full of something The streams teemed with fish.

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Comments on teem

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


an open space surrounded by woods

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