verb (used without object)

to abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile (usually followed by with).
Obsolete. to be or become pregnant; bring forth young.

verb (used with object)

Obsolete. to produce (offspring).

Origin of teem

before 900; Middle English temen, Old English tēman, tīeman to produce (offspring), derivative of tēam team
Related formsteem·er, noun

Synonyms for teem



verb (used with or without object)

to empty or pour out; discharge.

Origin of teem

1250–1300; Middle English temen < Old Norse tæma to empty, derivative of tōmr empty, cognate with Old English tōm free from
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for teems

Contemporary Examples of teems

  • But then a rump faction—AAPS teems with rump factions—mounted a very convincing case for Vice President Joe Biden.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Electing a Punch Line

    Christopher Buckley

    October 20, 2008

Historical Examples of teems

  • All travellers in Africa have borne testimony to the fact that it teems with animals.

    Hunting the Lions

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • One of the many errors with which the volume of Robertson teems.

  • Yet Christianity too, in spite of ecclesiasticism, teems with ideas.

    At Large

    Arthur Christopher Benson

  • This Piazza teems with every personal association relating to the Scaligers.

  • Every science, even mathematics, teems with unsolved problems.

    Natural Philosophy

    Wilhelm Ostwald

British Dictionary definitions for teems




(intr usually foll by with) to be prolific or abundant (in); abound (in)
obsolete to bring forth (young)

Word Origin for teem

Old English tēman to produce offspring; related to West Saxon tīeman; see team




(intr; often foll by down or with rain) to pour in torrentsit's teeming down
(tr) to pour or empty out
Derived Formsteemer, noun

Word Origin for teem

C15 temen to empty, from Old Norse tœma; related to Old English tōm, Old High German zuomīg empty
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 teems



"abound, swarm," Old English teman (Mercian), tieman (West Saxon) "give birth to, produce," from Proto-Germanic *taumijanan, from PIE *deuk- "to lead" (see duke (n.)). Related to team in its now-obsolete Old English sense of "family, brood of young animals." The meaning "be fertile, abound, swarm" is first recorded 1590s. Related: Teemed; teeming.



"to flow copiously," c.1300, from Old Norse toema "to empty," from tomr "empty," cognate with Old English tom "empty." The original notion is of "to empty a vessel," thus "to pour out." Related: Teemed; teeming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper