According to the complaint, when the actress (i.e. Thurman) questioned Starr, he hemmed and hawed.
Sounding indecisive, Whitman hemmed and hawed about the different kinds of negative ads.
At this Jacob hemmed and hawed and scratched his head, for he did not know about that.
At first he softened down a little, “hemmed and hawed,” as folks say.
The Beau made a thousand apologies, hummed, hawed, and drew a card from his pocket.
He hemmed and hawed, and finally had to blurt out that he didn't own the place.
I know'd well enough that warn't what he sent for me for, by the way he humm'd and hawed when he began.
The storekeeper hemmed and hawed and finally said five dollars in gold.
Sir Bernard hummed and hawed, and helped himself reflectively to another devilled anchovy.
The stranger hummed and hawed and pulled his long beard while he thought.
"hesitate in speech," 1580s, imitative. Related: Hawed; hawing. The noun in this sense is from c.1600. Haw-haw "style of affected enunciation" is from 1841, imitative.