\ 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 To many, these places exemplify wilderness — paradises untrammeled by human intervention and thus teeming with plant and animal life. Mikaela Weisse, Twin Cities, "Mikaela Weisse: Five myths about tropical rainforests," 4 Sep. 2019 Well, both Ward and Moore are capable of playing outside cornerback, a position that’s not exactly teeming with depth. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ roster: Which players should be worried about making the team?," 24 July 2019 The 2020 Democratic field now teems with proposals to mitigate rampaging wealth and income inequality, from Kamala Harris’s plan to increase tax credits for low- and moderate-income families to Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. John Case, The New Republic, "An Economy in Waiting," 8 July 2019 The waters surrounding the islands teem with 18 species of whales and dolphins. Laura Newberry, latimes.com, "The U.S. wants to dump 1.5 tons of rat poison on the Farallon Islands. Biologists say it’s for the best," 7 July 2019 Skiing and riding limited terrain teeming with humanity fueled by beer and even champagne was risky. John Meyer, The Know, "Arapahoe Basin turns red, white and blue for Fourth of July skiing," 4 July 2019 The jungles are thick with vegetation and teeming with Maoist insurgents called Naxalites who attack government officials with bullets, incendiary devices and land mines. Amrit Dhillon, The Seattle Times, "Poll workers journey to reach India’s most remote voters," 14 Apr. 2019 A few years from now, this place will be teeming with insects, birds, rare fish, biologists and visitors from throughout the region. Los Angeles Times, "South Gate charts new course to rear native fish that thrived before L.A.’s explosive growth," 17 Sep. 2019 And yet 7,900 feet below the surface, in perpetual darkness and in waters that have remained undisturbed for up to two billion years, the mine is teeming with life. NBC News, "Strange life-forms found deep in a mine point to vast 'underground Galapagos'," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Its sweeping white beaches and limestone cliffs frame a sanctuary of oak and pine trees teeming with chirping cicadas, wild herbs, sprawling eucalyptus, and the occasional fig tree. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "This French Island Is the Nantucket of the Mediterranean," 16 Aug. 2018 The park is also teeming with bears, moose, elk, and plenty of birds. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Very Best National Parks You Need to Visit," 5 Sep. 2019 So many of the images, teeming with activity, are dense with enchantment. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Eric Carle Museum explores the enchanted world of children’s book master Peter Sís," 22 Aug. 2019 The roster for this year’s VMAs is teeming with megastars who’ve each had a killer year. Diane J. Cho, PEOPLE.com, "The Most Viral Moments from the 2019 VMA Nominees," 22 Aug. 2019 The lone woman’s stifled indignation rises quickly to a collective silent uproar: the doctor’s waiting room turns out to be teeming with patients awaiting similar treatment. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Mr. Klein,” a Political Mystery of Mistaken Identity in Occupied Paris," 6 Sep. 2019 To many, these places exemplify wilderness — paradises untrammeled by human intervention and thus teeming with plant and animal life. Mikaela Weisse, Twin Cities, "Mikaela Weisse: Five myths about tropical rainforests," 4 Sep. 2019 Close to the shoreline and teeming with sea life, this canyon connects the deep, cold ocean to the wine-growing regions of Monterey in a unique union of land and sea. Bon Appétit, "A Taste of Place," 24 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for teem

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for teem

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

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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

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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