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

Variations of this gilt pleasure teem in vintage stores like The Apartment, and for less sticker shock, CB2 gives us a modern iteration of the famous fixture. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Is This the Original SAD Lamp? The Best Tropical Light Fixtures to Ward Off Seasonal Blues," 12 Oct. 2018 The fest was teeming with great games, so please enjoy a few more best-of-PAX highlights. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 From the beaches of the Eastern Shore to the mountains of Western Maryland, our state is teeming with picturesque spots to visit. Algerina Perna, baltimoresun.com, "Exploring historical Havre de Grace," 22 June 2018 The crown jewel of the system is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, a recreational conduit that in warmer months teems with walkers, bicyclists, runners and more. Yoshina Okamoto, Anchorage Daily News, "Tackle Anchorage’s terrific city trail system," 3 May 2018 Seconds later, Neporadny had the 12-inch fish in the boat and tossed it into a live well that would soon be teeming with fish. Brent Frazee, kansascity, "It's high time to go crappie fishing at Lake of the Ozarks | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 2018 This time around, the Internet is teeming over responses to her visible armpit hair. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Halsey Posts Armpit Hair Selfie on Twitter," 11 Apr. 2018 My blood during that window is teeming with creatine and potassium. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "New Blueprint for Athletes service reveals fitness truths at the cellular level: Stretching Out," 6 Feb. 2018 High-quality compost is teeming with life, full of beneficial microorganisms that will help improve your soil life and your plants' vitality. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The Right Way To Buy Quality Organic Compost For Your Garden," 27 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The fest was teeming with great games, so please enjoy a few more best-of-PAX highlights. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 On weekends, this happy place teems with locals doing their weekly shop alongside hundreds of visitors; but for less of a crowded experience, go on a weekday before or after lunch at one of the dozens of restaurants located in and around the market. Isa Tousignant, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Montreal," 17 Aug. 2018 With the Bucks, a squad that is teeming with ball-handlers and playmakers, DiVincenzo, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound combo guard, sees an opportunity to help the team in the backcourt. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo's arrival in Milwaukee is a joyous occasion for his family," 25 June 2018 No mere receptacle for artifacts, the building itself teems with historical resonances. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "The African American History and Culture Museum Wins Gold for Going Green," 21 Apr. 2018 The biggest rebel stronghold lies in the north-western province of Idlib, which teems with fighters from across Syria. The Economist, "America vows to respond to a suspected chemical attack in Syria," 9 Apr. 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 Lakes that once seemed like ghost towns suddenly teem with life. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Late-spring fishing is prime time for bass. Here's how to take advantage.," 1 June 2018 Officials have said the island can only handle 30,000 people but teems with 70,000 at any given time, including 50,000 residents and daily arrivals of about 20,000 tourists. Washington Post, "Tourists enjoy final day at beach before Boracay closure," 25 Apr. 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



Statistics for teem

Last Updated

17 Nov 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).


by force of circumstances

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