• synonyms


[pronounced with a small scraping sound accompanied or followed by a nasal; spelling pronunciation uh-hem, hem]
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  1. (an utterance similar to the sound of clearing one's throat, used to attract attention, express doubt or a mild warning, etc.)
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ahem

cold, exclamation, wow, amen, hello, alas, boo, hurrah, ahem, oh, whoopee, hooray, shucks, er, whoop, hack, hem, bark, croup, ouch

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British Dictionary definitions for ahem


  1. a clearing of the throat, used to attract attention, express doubt, etc
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ahem

attention-getting interjection, 1763, lengthened from hem, imitative of clearing the throat.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper