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

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 The grounds around the office buildings are teeming with weeds and litter, including glass shards. Parker Leavitt, azcentral, "Readers' picks: Worst Phoenix eyesores of 2015," 4 Nov. 2015 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 As such, the album is a collection of puzzle pieces, jumbled, mixed, and teeming with memories of distant cities, highly personal tales, and a vision of the future in which Nielson’s daughter is the world’s biggest Unknown Mortal Orchestra fan. Will Schube, GQ, "Ruban Nielson Traveled the World to Make the New Unknown Mortal Orchestra Record," 7 Apr. 2018 Words were tumbling out in the background, the frame was teeming with characters. Laura Bradley, HWD, "Even in Horrendous Failure, Steven Bochco Succeeded—and Cop Rock Is Proof," 2 Apr. 2018 According to fall class data provided by the district: Nearly every K-8 class at Palmer Park is teeming with students. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "There's one kindergarten teacher, 38 students in this Detroit class," 22 Feb. 2018 Preston seems to be on track to be one the best golfers in a family teeming with golfing talent. Atreya Verma, azcentral, "15-year-old Preston Summerhays wins Utah State Amateur title," 19 June 2018 According to The New York Times, reports from the Water Quality and Health Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have discovered that the water in pools and hot tubs is often teeming with bacteria. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The CDC Warns of Possible Dangerous Bacteria in Pool Water," 18 May 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

3 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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