the ascending axis of a plant, whether above or below ground, which ordinarily grows in an opposite direction to the root or descending axis.
the stalk that supports a leaf, flower, or fruit.
a cut flower: We bought roses at the flower market for 50¢ a stem.
a stalk of bananas.
something resembling or suggesting a leaf or flower stalk.
a long, slender part: the stem of a tobacco pipe.
the slender, vertical part of a goblet, wineglass, etc., between the bowl and the base.
Informal. a drinking glass having a stem.
the handle of a spoon.
a projection from the rim of a watch, having on its end a knob for winding the watch.
the circular rod in some locks about which the key fits and rotates.
the rod or spindle by which a valve is operated from outside.
the stock or line of descent of a family; ancestry or pedigree.
Music. the vertical line forming part of a note.
stems, Slang. the legs of a human being.
the main or relatively thick stroke of a letter in printing.
to remove the stem from (a leaf, fruit, etc.): Stem the cherries before cooking.
to arise or originate: This project stems from last week's lecture.
- stemless, adjective
- stemlike, adjective
Other definitions for stem (2 of 6)
to stop, check, or restrain.
to dam up; stop the flow of (a stream, river, or the like).
to tamp, plug, or make tight, as a hole or joint.
Skiing. to maneuver (a ski or skis) in executing a stem.
to stanch (bleeding).
Skiing. to execute a stem.
Skiing. the act or instance of a skier pushing the heel of one or both skis outward so that the heels are far apart, as in making certain turns or slowing down.
Other definitions for stem (3 of 6)
to make headway against (a tide, current, gale, etc.).
to make progress against (any opposition).
Other definitions for stem (4 of 6)
(at the bow of a vessel) an upright into which the side timbers or plates are jointed.
the forward part of a vessel (often opposed to stern).
Other definitions for stem (5 of 6)
to arrange the loading of (a merchant vessel) within a specified time.
Other definitions for STEM (6 of 6)
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, considered as a group of academic or career fields (often used attributively): degree programs in STEM disciplines;teaching STEM in high school.
- See also STEAM.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use stem in a sentence
By March, regulators were desperately trying to stem the tide of price gouging flooding online retailers, especially Amazon's sprawling third-party Marketplace.Price gouging and defective products rampant on Amazon, reports find | Kate Cox | September 11, 2020 | Ars Technica
The pause stemmed from a standard review of the company’s vaccine trials after one person developed an unexplained illness, AstraZeneca said in a statement.Some scientists downplay significance of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial halt | Claire Zillman, reporter | September 9, 2020 | Fortune
The commission recommends more research on using stem cells to produce eggs and sperm in lab dishes, which could then be used to create embryos that don’t carry genetic diseases.Strict new guidelines lay out a path to heritable human gene editing | Tina Hesman Saey | September 3, 2020 | Science News
Julia Gaydina, co-founder of sustainable luxury clothing brand Infantium Victoria He spent the next 18 months trying to understand how to extract the calotropis gigantea fiber from its stem and pod without using any chemicals.How a Wasteland Shrub Is Becoming the Next Big Thing in Fashion | Daniel Malloy | August 28, 2020 | Ozy
In 2019, approximately $919 million of craft distiller revenues stemmed from on-site sales.Craft distillers have lost out on more than $700 million in sales because of the pandemic | Rachel King | August 20, 2020 | Fortune
Republican legislatures are looking for any way to stem the tide, and religious exemptions are one way to do that.RFRA Madness: What’s Next for Anti-Democratic ‘Religious Exemptions’ | Jay Michaelson | November 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The researchers first isolated a set of cells known as neural stem cells (NSCs) from the brains of rats.Fish Oil, Turmeric, and Ginseng, Oh My! Are ‘Brain Foods’ B.S.? | Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD | October 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In part, it may stem from what looks like an increasingly “political” Court.Ruth Bader Ginsburg Levels With Us on Why She’s Not Retiring | Jeff Greenfield | September 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Seager writes about being threatened by a patient with a shank carved out of an eyeglass stem.
Anti-vaxxers and anti-stem cell-ers come together, thanks to a recent paper linking autism to vaccines that use stem cells.
On the upper part of the stem the whorls are very close together, but they are more widely separated at the lower portion.How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
The upper part of the stem is usually unbranched, but whorls of branches occur towards the base.How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
As he spoke he wedged himself between Grandfather Mole and the stem of the toadstool umbrella.The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
A mushir (marshal) would find it derogatory to his dignity to smoke out of a stem less than two yards in length.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
The Chukchees use a pipe similar to those of the Eskimo, but with a much larger and shorter stem.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
British Dictionary definitions for stem (1 of 3)
the main axis of a plant, which bears the leaves, axillary buds, and flowers and contains a hollow cylinder of vascular tissue
any similar subsidiary structure in such plants that bears a flower, fruit, or leaf
a corresponding structure in algae and fungi
any long slender part, such as the hollow part of a tobacco pipe that lies between the bit and the bowl, or the support between the base and the bowl of a wineglass, goblet, etc
a banana stalk with several bunches attached
the main line of descent or branch of a family
a round pin in some locks on which a socket in the end of a key fits and about which it rotates
any projecting feature of a component: a shank or cylindrical pin or rod, such as the pin that carries the winding knob on a watch
linguistics the form of a word that remains after removal of all inflectional affixes; the root of a word, esp as occurring together with a thematic element: Compare root 1 (def. 9)
the main, usually vertical, stroke of a letter or of a musical note such as a minim
electronics the tubular glass section projecting from the base of a light bulb or electronic valve, on which the filament or electrodes are mounted
the main upright timber or structure at the bow of a vessel
the very forward end of a vessel (esp in the phrase from stem to stern)
(intr usually foll by from) to be derived; originate: the instability stems from the war
(tr) to make headway against (a tide, wind, etc)
(tr) to remove or disengage the stem or stems from
(tr) to supply (something) with a stem or stems
- stemlike, adjective
- stemmer, noun
British Dictionary definitions for stem (2 of 3)
(tr) to restrain or stop (the flow of something) by or as if by damming up
(tr) to pack tightly or stop up
skiing to manoeuvre (a ski or skis), as in performing a stem
skiing a technique in which the heel of one ski or both skis is forced outwards from the direction of movement in order to slow down or turn
- stemmer, noun
British Dictionary definitions for Stem (3 of 3)
die Stem (di) the South African national anthem until 1991, when part of it was incorporated into the current anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika: See Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
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
Scientific definitions for stem
The main, often long or slender part of a plant that usually grows upward above the ground and supports other parts, such as branches and leaves. Plants have evolved a number of tissue arrangements in the stem. Seedless vascular plants (such as mosses and ferns) have primary vascular tissue in an inner core, a cylindrical ring, or individual strands scattered amid the ground tissue. In eudicots, magnoliids, and conifers, the stem develops a continuous cylindrical layer or a ring of separate bundles of vascular tissue (including secondary vascular tissue) embedded in the ground tissue. In monocots and some herbaceous eudicots, individual strands of primary vascular tissue are scattered in the ground tissue.
A slender stalk supporting or connecting another plant part, such as a leaf or flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with stem
In addition to the idiom beginning with stem
- stem the tide
- stem to stern
- from soup to nuts (stem to stern)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.