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

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


British Dictionary definitions for hem in

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

hem

2
/ (hɛm) /

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
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 in
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hem in

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.