\ ˈtēm How to pronounce teem (audio) \
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
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 How to pronounce teemingly (audio) \ 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 In Turkey, where the earth teems with the relics of dozens of ancient civilisations—and where over the past couple of decades the economy has been powered by a construction frenzy—development regularly takes priority over heritage. The Economist, "Some building works threaten Turkish antiquities. Others save them," 14 Nov. 2019 At the peak of the evening rush hour, the transit center that normally teemed with buses was summarily closed. John Brant, Popular Mechanics, "It Was Supposed to Be the Safest Building in the World. Then It Cracked.," 25 Oct. 2019 Many of us have been in funeral homes like Sebrell’s and have attended memorials of various sizes—the wakes that teem with mourners, the calling hours that feel underpopulated. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "A Documentary of Funeral Care for Abandoned AIDS Patients," 22 Oct. 2019 Before the competition began Randy gave the Pieronis a tour of the Riding Club grounds, which teemed with the activities of a horse show. La Cañada Valley Sun, "The Valley Line: Flintridge Riding Club’s annual Autumn Classic a blue-ribbon event," 1 Oct. 2019 Studies have found that the surfaces of treadmills, weight machines and other typical gym equipment are teeming with bacteria and other infectious germs. Scott Douglas, sun-sentinel.com, "Your gym is teeming with invisible members: Germs. Here’s how to avoid them.," 29 July 2019 On the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, discover an often-wild desert landscape juxtaposed against brilliant blue waters teeming with life. Jenny Peters, National Geographic, "Baja California Sur: The ultimate road trip," 25 July 2019 Predictably, the House floor today teemed with all the chaos of a high school cafeteria: animated by thick egos, tables separated by deep allegiances. Wired, "Depth of Field: Reality TV Drama in Congress," 31 Oct. 2019 The Triangle’s waters teem with an abundance of life almost unmatched elsewhere on the planet. The Economist, "Asia’s coral faces a deadly onslaught," 24 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The stabbing happened in an area teeming with shoppers. BostonGlobe.com, "stabbed several people in London," 29 Nov. 2019 La Romana is the gateway to Catalina, Catalinita, and Saona Islands, which are home to nesting turtles, thriving coral reef, and shipwrecks teeming with marine life, which beginner and advanced divers can see by snorkel. Nicola Fumo, Town & Country, "Why the Dominican Republic Is the Best Place to Relax and Unwind," 23 Nov. 2019 But they were met by riot police firing tear gas, turning the busy streets teeming with apartment blocks into a battle zone. Ken Moritsugu, chicagotribune.com, "Hong Kong police tighten siege on protesters at university campus," 18 Nov. 2019 More Open Future articles are at Economist.com/openfuture. * * * Get our daily newsletter Our grandparents attended party conventions teeming with balloons and bunting. The Economist, "Party politics is dying, so make citizen movements the new unifier," 1 Nov. 2019 In Beirut, a city notoriously fractured and short on public gathering places, downtown streets teemed with demonstrators from all areas, social classes and sects. Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times, "Their city lacks public spaces for protests, so Beirut residents made their own," 21 Oct. 2019 Across two days teeming with house and techno, Billboard Dance brings you the best of Secret Project. Valerie Lee, Billboard, "Techno, Leather & Sunshine: The Best Moments of Secret Project 2019," 14 Oct. 2019 But the current of progress—teeming with color and radiance, with a belief in a more equitable world—rages and rages. Wired, "Depth of Field: The Queer Rights Movement Faces Down the Supreme Court," 10 Oct. 2019 Take the reins of the Caribbean island of Tropico and build beautiful thriving cities teeming with industry, culture and tourism. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Tropico 6 pushes the boundaries of city building," 6 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for teem

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for teem

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Teem.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teem. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for teem


\ ˈtēm How to pronounce teem (audio) \
teemed; teeming

Kids Definition of teem

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on teem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for teem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with teem

Spanish Central: Translation of teem

Nglish: Translation of teem for Spanish Speakers

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