teem

verb (1)
\ 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

teem

verb (2)
teemed; teeming; teems

Definition of teem (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: empty, pour teem molten metal into a mold

Other Words from teem

Verb (1)

teemingly \ ˈtē-​miŋ-​lē How to pronounce teem (audio) \ adverb
teemingness noun

Did you know?

The verb teem and the noun team are not just homophones, they are also etymological kin. Teem is derived from Old English tīman or tæman, which originally meant "to bring forth offspring" or "to become pregnant." That word is related to the ancestor of team, the Old English noun tēam, meaning "offspring, lineage, or group of draft animals." Team can still be used to refer to a brood of young animals, especially pigs or ducks, but both teem and team have otherwise largely left their offspring-related senses behind.

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 television disinformation is only a small part of the problem; social media networks teem with falsehoods about the election and boost Trump's lies in what is almost a fact-free zone. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 The task is especially hard in the Northern Virginia suburbs around Washington, DC, which teem with federal workers and highly educated and affluent voters. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Oct. 2021 Much has changed since that time — Cartagena is now home to more than a dozen upscale hotels — but the public plazas still teem with high drama, a strange and vibrant life. Travel + Leisure, 10 Oct. 2021 Eden: Untamed Planet Helena Bonham Carter narrates this new nature series, which visits the few remaining untouched lands that still teem with ample biodiversity. Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2021 Olympic sites teem with volunteers — easily identified by their blue-and-white uniforms—rushing to assist any confused visitor. Rachel Blount, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 Khan’s words might teem with optimism, but the Jaguars are still going to lose — more often, perhaps, than Meyer, whose worst season as a college head coach was 8-5, ever has. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2021 Yet even mute wooden logs and beams appear to teem with life in Nakashima’s art, whose depths are historical as well as stylistic. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2021 Our Milky Way Galaxy should teem with 300 billion exoplanets, the researchers estimate. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And television disinformation is only a small part of the problem; social media networks teem with falsehoods about the election and boost Trump's lies in what is almost a fact-free zone. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 The task is especially hard in the Northern Virginia suburbs around Washington, DC, which teem with federal workers and highly educated and affluent voters. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Oct. 2021 Much has changed since that time — Cartagena is now home to more than a dozen upscale hotels — but the public plazas still teem with high drama, a strange and vibrant life. Travel + Leisure, 10 Oct. 2021 Eden: Untamed Planet Helena Bonham Carter narrates this new nature series, which visits the few remaining untouched lands that still teem with ample biodiversity. Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2021 Olympic sites teem with volunteers — easily identified by their blue-and-white uniforms—rushing to assist any confused visitor. Rachel Blount, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 Our Milky Way Galaxy should teem with 300 billion exoplanets, the researchers estimate. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 26 Mar. 2021 Khan’s words might teem with optimism, but the Jaguars are still going to lose — more often, perhaps, than Meyer, whose worst season as a college head coach was 8-5, ever has. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2021 Yet even mute wooden logs and beams appear to teem with life in Nakashima’s art, whose depths are historical as well as stylistic. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About teem

Time Traveler for teem

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About teem

Dictionary Entries Near teem

teel

teem

teem down

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for teem

Cite this Entry

“Teem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teem. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for teem

teem

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

Kids Definition of teem

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

More from Merriam-Webster on teem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for teem

Nglish: Translation of teem for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!