\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The anniversary of that protest this month drew teeming crowds to the streets in several cities and towns across the country, with people singing, dancing and carrying flags. Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, "Sudan sentences 27 security officials to death for torturing, killing protester," 30 Dec. 2019 At one mall in the teeming Mong Kok district, also on the Kowloon peninsula, police used pepper spray to disperse some protesters, according to Cable television. NBC News, "Hong Kong police fire tear gas to disperse Christmas Eve protesters in malls," 24 Dec. 2019 At the same time, the Romans often alluded to death in their art and literature; its inevitability served to heighten the pleasures of this world (even if their notions of the afterlife also involved teeming banquets). Meara Sharma, New York Times, "How to Eat Dinner Like the Last Citizens of Pompeii," 24 Dec. 2019 Worried that Carlos might infect other migrants in the teeming McAllen facility, officials moved him to a cell for quarantine at a Border Patrol station in nearby Weslaco. Robert Moore, ProPublica, "Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care," 8 Dec. 2019 From the teeming evacuation centers and parking lots of the North Bay to power-charging stations in the East Bay, people are getting mighty tired of hunkering down again and again. Kevin Fagan, SFChronicle.com, "Exhaustion, frustration set in as evacuees flee fires and blackouts," 29 Oct. 2019 The bride and groom chose Villa Del Balbianello as their venue—a lavish, secluded property with elaborate architecture and teeming gardens overlooking the lake. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh Got Married at a Secluded Venue in Lake Como," 15 Oct. 2019 More will likely follow as climate change and deforestation push monkeys and mosquitoes into greater contact with the region’s teeming cities. Steven M. Opal, Time, "When Mosquitoes Brought Yellow Fever to the Caribbean, They Also Spread Slavery," 11 Oct. 2019 Only about a dozen diplomats remain in America’s once-teeming embassy in Baghdad, a city beset by deadly protests. The Economist, "Donald Trump suddenly withdraws from northern Syria," 10 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now, streets and squares once teeming with tourists from mainland China are empty. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Macao will close its casinos for two weeks over the coronavirus outbreak," 4 Feb. 2020 The Internet is currently teeming with statistics about which companies and job types favor WFH hiring, along with guesses about how and why people in various nations prefer working from home. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Tracking the future of remote workplaces: Apps, communication, and liability," 3 Feb. 2020 Neither dull nor beige, the landscape teemed with towering spruce and birch trees, brake-testing hills and bracing views of Lake Superior. Ingela Ratledge Amundson, WSJ, "The Gas Station That Frank Lloyd Wright Built," 29 Jan. 2020 Divided by five distinct quadrants—North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest—the city is teeming with legendary hot spots and emerging icons. Travel Portland, Bon Appétit, "5 Portland Restaurants to Eat at Right Now," 21 Jan. 2020 After decades of bloody battles and violent raids, things have quieted down for the medieval fortress, which, nowadays, teems with more tourists than soldiers and offers pleasant views of Loch Ness. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Job Hunting? How About Working at a Stunning Scottish Castle?," 25 Dec. 2019 Drink in hand, continue down Broadway and into the ever-teeming confines of Far East Plaza. Jordan Michelman, latimes.com, "What’s brewing in Chinatown: a microguide to four unique coffee bars," 21 June 2019 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 But Kabul teems with warlords and mercenaries, zealots and spies – and Saul needs the relationships and expertise that only his protégé can provide. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "Carrie's loyalty to Saul is tested in latest Homeland trailer," 13 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for teem

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Teem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teem?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=t&file=teem0001. Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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