hem: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (hem), [key]
— v., n. hemmed, hem•ming,
  1. to fold back and sew down the edge of (cloth, a garment, etc.); form an edge or border on or around.
  2. to enclose or confine (usually fol. by in, around, or about): hemmed in by enemies.
  1. an edge made by folding back the margin of cloth and sewing it down.
  2. the edge or border of a garment, drape, etc., esp. at the bottom.
  3. the edge, border, or margin of anything.
  4. the raised edge forming the volute of an Ionic capital.


Pronunciation: (hem), [key]
— interj., n., v., hemmed, hem•ming.
  1. (an utterance resembling a slight clearing of the throat, used to attract attention, express doubt, etc.)
  1. the utterance or sound of “hem.”
  2. a sound or pause of hesitation: His sermon was full of hems and haws.
  1. to utter the sound “hem.”
  2. to hesitate in speaking.
  3. She hemmed and hawed a lot before she came to the point.
    1. to hesitate or falter:She hemmed and hawed a lot before she came to the point.
    2. to speak noncommittally; avoid giving a direct answer:He hems and haws and comes out on both sides of every question.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. var. ofbefore a vowel: hemal.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
See also:
  • hem (Thesaurus)