verb (used with object)

to hem along a line from which threads have been drawn out, stitching the cross threads into a series of little groups.
to simulate hand hemstitching by piercing the material with a large machine needle and then stitching around the perforations.


the stitch used or the needlework done in hemstitching.

Nearby words

  1. hempen,
  2. hempseed,
  3. hempstead,
  4. hempy,
  5. hems,
  6. hen,
  7. hen fruit,
  8. hen harrier,
  9. hen hawk,
  10. hen night

Origin of hemstitch

First recorded in 1830–40; hem1 + stitch

Related formshem·stitch·er, noun

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

Examples from the Web for hemstitch

British Dictionary definitions for hemstitch



a decorative edging stitch, usually for a hem, in which the cross threads are stitched in groups


to decorate (a hem, etc) with hemstitches
Derived Formshemstitcher, noun

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 hemstitch



also hem-stitch, 1821, from hem + stitch. As a verb by 1839. Related: Hemstitched; hemstitching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper