There are 2 definitions of hem in English:

hem1

Line breaks: hem
Pronunciation: /hɛm
 
/

noun

  • The edge of a piece of cloth or clothing which has been turned under and sewn: the hem of her dress she took up the hem
    More example sentences
    • Top-stitched hems on denim garments tend to curl up to the outside.
    • I sewed the armhole and neckline hems with a scant 1/4" seam; the bottom hem is about l/2".
    • It features a left chest patch pocket, a clean front, and a shirttail hem.
    Synonyms
    edge, edging, border, trim, trimming; fringe, frill, flounce, valance

verb (hems, hemming, hemmed)

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Turn under and sew the edge of (a piece of cloth): she began to hem a border
    More example sentences
    • Moreover, overlocking seams and hemming garments are not necessary because the fabric doesn't fray.
    • Construct the reversible top following the same method as for the jumper - so the lower hemmed edges hang free of each other.
    • After measuring and cutting the canopy and headboard panel, narrowly hem the edges or bind them with coordinating binding strips.
    Synonyms

Origin

Old English 'border of a piece of cloth', of West Germanic origin. The verb senses date from the mid 16th century.

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Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
noun
a powerful whirlpool in the sea

There are 2 definitions of hem in English:

hem2

Line breaks: hem
Pronunciation: /həm
 
, hɛm
 
/

exclamation

  • Used in writing to indicate a sound made when coughing or clearing the throat to attract attention or to express hesitation.
    More example sentences
    • In truth I had slept about 3 hours and breakfast had been a pint of Stella — ah hem.
    • Still staying off the sugar and to be honest, the proof will come when, eh hem, that other monthly thing arrives.
    • Wang apparently forgot to ask about the keys for the machine when he purchased it for the, uh hem, bargain price of $75 off a man in East Harlem.

verb (hems, hemming, hemmed)

[no object] archaic Back to top  
  • Make a sound in the throat when hesitating or as a signal: Jane, if any one is about, come to the foot of the stairs and hem
    More example sentences
    • Ira hems, haws, stamps his feet, clears his throat.

Phrases

hem and haw

North American term for hum and haw (see hum1).
More example sentences
  • But even though they were on discount, I hemmed and hawed.
  • However, after a few more minutes of hemming and hawing, his curiosity got the better of him and he unfolded the paper.
  • After my son hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust.

Origin

late 15th century: imitative.

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