Pronunciation: (hem), [key]
v., 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. Archit.the raised edge forming the volute of an Ionic capital.


Pronunciation: (hem), [key]
interj., n., v., hemmed, hem•ming.

(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. hem and haw,
a. to hesitate or falter: She hemmed and hawed a lot before she came to the point.
b. to speak noncommittally; avoid giving a direct answer: He hems and haws and comes out on both sides of every question.


var. of hemo- before a vowel: hemal. Also, esp. Brit.,haem-.Cf. haemat-.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

See also:
  • hem (Thesaurus)

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