hem 1 (hm) n.
1. An edge or border on a piece of cloth, especially a finished edge, as for a garment or curtain, made by folding an edge under and stitching it down.
2. The height or level of the bottom edge of a skirt, dress, or coat; a hemline.
tr.v. hemmed, hem·ming, hems
1. To fold back and stitch down the edge of.
To surround and shut in; enclose: a valley hemmed in by mountains. See Synonyms at enclose
[Middle English, from Old English hem, hemm.]
A short cough or clearing of the throat made especially to gain attention, warn another, hide embarrassment, or fill a pause in speech.
intr.v. hemmed, hem·ming, hems
1. To utter a hem.
2. To hesitate in speech.
hem and haw
To be hesitant and indecisive; equivocate: “a leader who cannot make up his or her mind, never knows what to do, hems and haws” (Margaret Thatcher).
[From Middle English heminge, coughing, of imitative origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
the border of a piece of clothing, folded over and sewn.
v – past tense, past participle hemmed–
to make a hem on (a piece of clothing) I’ve hemmed the skirt.
to surround (someone) The soldiers were hemmed in on all sides by the enemy.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.