- 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.
- the main body of that portion of a tree, shrub, or other plant which is above ground; trunk; stalk.
- a cut flower: We bought roses at the flower market for 50¢ a stem.
- a petiole; peduncle; pedicel.
- 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.
- Grammar. the underlying form, often consisting of a root plus an affix, to which the inflectional endings of a word are added, as tend-, the stem in Latin tendere “to stretch,” the root of which is ten-.Compare base1(def 18), theme(def 5).
- 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.
Origin of stem1
- 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.
Origin of stem2
- to make headway against (a tide, current, gale, etc.).
- to make progress against (any opposition).
Origin of stem3
- (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).
Origin of stem4
- to arrange the loading of (a merchant vessel) within a specified time.
Origin of stem5
- 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.
Related Words for stemsbranch, trunk, derive, emanate, arise, hinder, withstand, resist, curb, contain, restrain, shoot, stock, axis, peduncle, pedicle, pedicel, petiole, head, originate
Examples from the Web for stems
Contemporary Examples of stems
The lack of love likely stems from DeMaio's silence on Proposition 8.No Shaking Sexual Harassment Allegations for Gay GOP House Hopeful
October 12, 2014
Hirsch believes MBP stems from the competition among Hasidic rabbis to “demonstrate one segment is holier than another.”Why Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Babies Keep Getting Herpes
July 29, 2014
It also stems from the fact that Congress seems utterly detached from the rest of the nation, or even the planet.Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff On Congressional Travel Disclosure
July 4, 2014
And I think the chemistry that Jason and Jessica have stems from that innocence they both share.‘True Blood’ Star Ryan Kwanten Looks Back on Jason Stackhouse’s Craziest Scenes
June 22, 2014
The association between Ambien and crime also stems from the correlation between insomnia and depression, she said.Is the ‘Ambien Defense’ Total Bullsh*t?
April 15, 2014
Historical Examples of stems
"Rose campion," she said, parting the stems with her long, thin fingers.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Clean the mushrooms that are to be broiled and remove the stems.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
The girl shortened the stems of the roses and put them in a vase on Katy's dresser.Her Father's Daughter
The skin of the pears should he taken off, but the stems left on.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
They beheld only the stems of the grass waving as if under a gentle wind.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
- die Stem (di) the South African national anthem until 1991, when part of it was incorporated into the current anthem, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrikaSee Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
Word Origin for Stem
- 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 elementCompare 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; originatethe 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
Word Origin for stem
- (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
Word Origin for stem
Old English stemn, stefn "stem of a plant," also "either end-post of a ship," from Proto-Germanic *stamniz (cf. Old Saxon stamm, Old Norse stafn "stem of a ship;" Danish stamme, Swedish stam "trunk of a tree;" Old High German stam, German Stamm), from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet).
Meaning "support of a wineglass" is from 1835. Stem-winding watches (1875) were advanced and desirable when introduced, hence slang stem-winder "excellent thing" (1892). The nautical sense is preserved in the phrase stem to stern "along the full length" (of a ship), attested from 1620s. The verbal phrase stems from, first recorded 1932, American English, translates German stammen aus, probably from a figurative sense represented by English stem (n.) in the sense of "stock of a family, line of descent" (c.1540; cf. family tree, and German stammvater "tribal ancestor," literally "stem-father"). Stem cell attested by 1885.
"to hold back," c.1300, from Old Norse stemma "to stop," from Proto-Germanic *stamjan (cf. Swedish stämma, Old Saxon stemmian, Middle Dutch stemon, German stemmen "stop, resist, oppose"), from PIE root *stem- "to strike against something" (cf. Lithuanian stumiu "thrust, push"). Phrase to stem the tide is literally "to hold back the tide," but often is confused with stem (v.) in sense of "to make headway against, head in a certain course" (late 14c.), which is from stem (n.)).
- A supporting structure resembling the stalk of a plant.
- 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.
In addition to the idiom beginning with stem
- stem the tide
- stem to stern
- from soup to nuts (stem to stern)