hem

1
[ hem ]
/ hɛm /

verb (used with object), hemmed, hem·ming.

to fold back and sew down the edge of (cloth, a garment, etc.); form an edge or border on or around.
to enclose or confine (usually followed by in, around, or about): hemmed in by enemies.

noun

an edge made by folding back the margin of cloth and sewing it down.
the edge or border of a garment, drape, etc., especially at the bottom.
the edge, border, or margin of anything.
Architecture. the raised edge forming the volute of an Ionic capital.

Nearby words

  1. helvetian,
  2. helvetic,
  3. helvetii,
  4. helvétius,
  5. helvétius, claude adrien,
  6. hem and haw,
  7. hem in,
  8. hem-,
  9. hema-,
  10. hemacytometer

Origin of hem

1
before 1000; Middle English hem(m), Old English hem, probably akin to hamm enclosure; see home

hem

2
[ hem ]
/ hɛm /

interjection

(an utterance resembling a slight clearing of the throat, used to attract attention, express doubt, etc.)

noun

the utterance or sound of “hem.”
a sound or pause of hesitation: His sermon was full of hems and haws.

verb (used without object), hemmed, hem·ming.

to utter the sound “hem.”
to hesitate in speaking.

Origin of hem

2
First recorded in 1520–30; imitative

hem-

variant of hemo- before a vowel: hemal.
Also especially British, haem-.

Compare haemat-.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hem


British Dictionary definitions for hem

hem

1
/ (hɛm) /

noun

an edge to a piece of cloth, made by folding the raw edge under and stitching it down
short for hemline

verb hems, hemming or hemmed (tr)

to provide with a hem
(usually foll by in, around, or about) to enclose or confine

Word Origin for hem

Old English hemm; related to Old Frisian hemme enclosed land

noun, interjection

a representation of the sound of clearing the throat, used to gain attention, express hesitation, etc

verb hems, hemming or hemmed

(intr) to utter this sound
hem and haw or hum and haw to hesitate in speaking or in making a decision

hem-

combining form

a US variant of haemo-
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 hem
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hem

hem-

pref.

Variant ofhemo-

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.