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hem and haw

To speak in an evasive, vague, roundabout way in order to avoid responding to a question or making a definite statement. The phrase comes from the common filler words often used by habit or when one is deciding what to say. How much longer do we have to hear this guy hem and haw? I wish they would get on with the debate.
See also: and, haw, hem

hum and haw

To speak in an evasive, vague, roundabout way in order to avoid responding to a question or making a definite statement. The phrase comes from the common filler words often used by habit or when one is deciding what to say. Primarily heard in UK. How much longer do we have to hear this guy hum and haw? I wish they would get on with the debate.
See also: and, haw, hum

hem and haw (around)

Inf. to be uncertain about something; to be evasive; to say "ah" and "eh" when speaking—avoiding saying something meaningful. Stop hemming and hawing around. I want an answer. Don't just hem and haw around. Speak up. We want to hear what you think.
See also: and, haw, hem

hem and haw

Be hesitant and indecisive; avoid committing oneself, as in When asked about their wedding date, she hemmed and hawed, or The President hemmed and hawed about new Cabinet appointments. This expression imitates the sounds of clearing one's throat. [Late 1700s]
See also: and, haw, hem

hem and haw

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

hum and haw

BRITISH
If you hem and haw or hum and haw, you take a long time to say something because you cannot think of the right words, or because you are not sure what to say. Tim hemmed and hawed, but finally told his boss the truth. My mother hummed and hawed at first, but eventually she sent her agreement. Note: People sometimes use hum and ha with the same meaning. Abu hummed and ha-ed a little.
See also: and, haw, hem

hum and haw (or ha)

hesitate; be indecisive. British
The word hum has been used as an inarticulate syllable in hesitant speech since Chaucer; ha appears in a similar role from the early 17th century.
See also: and, haw, hum

hem and haw

To be hesitant and indecisive; equivocate: "a leader who cannot make up his or her mind, never knows what to do, hems and haws" (Margaret Thatcher).
See also: and, haw, hem

hem and haw

To refuse to give a definite answer. “Hem,” similar in derivation to the interjection “ahem,” meant to hesitate. “Haw” meant much the same sense of being noncommittal. Combine the two, and you have someone who's stalling for time and hoping not to have to respond any further.
See also: and, haw, hem
References in periodicals archive ?
Lisa Hawes was also a speaker at the Sixth Annual Healthcare Summit, hosted by the Women in Government Foundation on Thursday, November 19.
In 2005, Hawes tried out for the full-time program; she was accepted and began the next year.
Now back and ready for a crack at gold in his home city, Hawes believes Team GB have a great opportunity to lay to rest the ghost of that famous 1988 side.
I've never seen anything like it," said Hawes, a 20-year industry veteran.
He is a political opportunist, has lived off benifits, does nothing and contributes little, The only difference I can see is that Mr Hawes lives in a tent, while our peers live in their mansions.
So one cannot get closer to the spirit of this brave, talented and, by all accounts, charmingly self-effacing man than to visit Hawes.
Hawes is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
THE new limited edition party palettes from No7, as modelled by former Spooks Keeley Hawes, have everything a girl needs for a great night out.
An Invercargill registered nurse (RN) Bronwyn Hawes has had her registration cancelled following conviction on 21 dishonesty charges.
But the policewoman from the 21st century, played by Keeley Hawes, is still trapped in the past.
The long-running row began when neighbour Dennis Hawes and his wife Sandra built a sundeck on a roof overlooking the Harts' property.
The Creamery at Hawes has had its application for PDO status for Yorkshire Wensleydale passed by the UK government.
We're pretty excited about it," says Daniel Hawes, president of the company.