[ 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.
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.
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Origin of hem1
before 1000; Middle English hem(m), Old English hem, probably akin to hamm enclosure; see home
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for hem in (1 of 2)
/ (hɛm) /
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
British Dictionary definitions for hem in (2 of 2)
/ (hɛm) /
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
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
Idioms and Phrases with hem in
see fence in.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.