from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The main ascending part of a plant; a stalk or trunk.
  • noun A slender stalk supporting or connecting another plant part, such as a leaf or flower.
  • noun A banana stalk bearing several bunches of bananas.
  • noun A connecting or supporting part, especially.
  • noun The tube of a tobacco pipe.
  • noun The slender upright support of a wineglass or goblet.
  • noun The small projecting shaft with an expanded crown by which a watch is wound.
  • noun The rounded rod in the center of certain locks about which the key fits and is turned.
  • noun The shaft of a feather or hair.
  • noun The upright stroke of a typeface or letter.
  • noun Music The vertical line extending from the head of a note.
  • noun The main line of descent of a family.
  • noun Linguistics The main part of a word to which affixes are added.
  • noun Nautical The curved upright beam at the fore of a vessel into which the hull timbers are scarfed to form the prow.
  • noun The tubular glass structure mounting the filament or electrodes in an incandescent bulb or vacuum tube.
  • intransitive verb To have or take origin or descent.
  • intransitive verb To remove the stem of.
  • intransitive verb To provide with a stem.
  • intransitive verb To make headway against (a tide or current, for example).
  • idiom (from stem to stern) From one end to another.
  • intransitive verb To stop or stanch (a flow).
  • intransitive verb To restrain or stop.
  • intransitive verb To plug or tamp (a blast hole, for example).
  • intransitive verb Sports To turn (a ski, usually the uphill ski) by moving the heel outward.
  • intransitive verb To stem a ski or both skis, as in making a turn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To remove the stem of; separate from the stem: as, to stem tobacco.
  • To stop; check; dam up, as a stream.
  • To tamp; make tight, as a joint, with a lute or cement.
  • To dash against with the stem (of a vessel).
  • To keep (a vessel) on its course; steer.
  • To make headway against by sailing or swimming, as a tide or current; hence, in general, to make headway against (opposition of any kind).
  • To make headway (as a ship); especially, to make progress in opposition to some obstruction, as a current of water or the wind.
  • To head; advance head on.
  • An old spelling of steam.
  • noun A curved piece of timber or metal to which the two sides of a ship are united at the foremost end.
  • noun The forward part of a vessel; the bow.
  • noun The body of a tree, shrub, or plant; the firm part which supports the branches; the stock; the stalk; technically, the ascending axis, which ordinarily grows in an opposite direction to the root or descending axis.
  • noun The stalk which supports the flower or the fruit of a plant; the peduncle of the fructification, or the pedicel of a flower; the petiole or leaf-stem. See cuts under pedicel, peduncle, and petiole.
  • noun The stock of a family; a race; ancestry.
  • noun A branch of a family; an offshoot.
  • noun Anything resembling the stem of a plant.
  • noun In type-founding, the thick stroke or body-mark of a roman or italic letter. See cut under type.
  • noun In a vehicle, a bar to which the bow of a falling hood is hinged.
  • noun The projecting rod of a reciprocating valve, serving to guide it in its action. See cut under slide-valve.
  • noun In zoology and anatomy, any slender, especially axial, part like the stem of a plant; a stalk, stipe, rachis, footstalk, etc.
  • noun In ornithology, the whole shaft of a feather.
  • noun In entomology, the base of a clavate antenna, including all the joints except the enlarged outer ones: used especially in descriptions of the Lepidoptera.
  • noun In musical notation, a vertical line added to the head of certain kinds of notes.
  • noun In philology, a derivative from a root, having itself inflected forms, whether of declension or of conjugation, made from it; the unchanged part in a series of inflectional forms, from which the forms are viewed as made by additions; base; crude form.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English stefn, stemn; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English stemmen, from Old Norse stemma.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse stemma ("to stop, stem, dam") ( > Danish stemme/stæmme ("to stem, dam up")), from Proto-Germanic *stamjan. Cognate with German stemmen; compare stammer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English stemn, stefn ("stem, trunk (of a tree)"), from Proto-Germanic *stamniz.


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  • Now, take a real flower of this tribe -- the common bind-weed from the hedge will do as well as any other -- and you will see that the means provided for it to run up any stick or stem it may meet, is a peculiar property it has, of twining its _stem_ round and round that of any other plant near it; and so strong is this necessity to assume

    Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 454 Volume 18, New Series, September 11, 1852 Various 1841

  • When the brain stem is severely depleted of cells Ollie, (as may occur when certain individuals attempt deep thought), certain symptoms can appear.

    Police Complaints; How Soon Is Now? « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG Inspector Gadget 2009

  • Obama's comments about blue collar, small town America (of which I'm a member), which were poorly expressed but easily interpreted by anyone with a brain stem, is that the working poor in this country have little to rely on but faith and guns when the government that is supposed to protect and serve them does neither.

    Huckabee: 'Lousy joke' but 'pretty benign issue' 2008

  • Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE), the brain stem is affected, in Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), the thalamus region, in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the cerebral cortex, while in KURU and

    Physiology or Medicine for 1997 - Press Release 1997

  • Brain stem In the mad cow disease (BSE), the brain stem is affected.

    Different prions affect different regions of the brain 1997

  • Most of the troubles of Britain stem from the fact that the little island which is raising only 39% of its food does not have today the resources to provide 50,000,000 people with a decent standard of living.

    The Economic Future of Canada 1952

  • Most of the troubles of Britain stem from the fact that the little island which is raising only 39% of its food does not have today the resources to provide 50,000,000 people with a decent standard of living.

    The Economic Future of Canada 1952

  • "The term stem cell has so much currency around the world right now," says Tim Caulfield,

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed 2009

  • The Latin/Greek roots of the term stem from a few sources, but these familiar current usages may help: "Par" may be familiar from common current usage in golf: it evokes the concept of a norm, an average, or the expectation.

    Comment of the Week, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty 2009

  • and the back, with the title stem stitched across.

    Archive 2009-10-01 amy 2009


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  • Contronymic in the sense: issue forth from vs. contain.

    January 27, 2007

  • in cycling, a stem is the part that the handlebars are bolted onto.

    January 12, 2013

  • Hello My Dear! how are you i am interested to be your good friend can you please send me an mail to my mail box so that i can tell you about me and give you my pic ( )

    i will be waiting you in my mailbox ok.

    January 13, 2013

  • In Scrabble, a five or six letter tile combination that's useful for forming a bingo.

    November 27, 2019