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fence someone in

to restrict someone in some way. I don't want to fence you in, but you have to get home earlier at night. Don't try to fence me in. I need a lot of freedom. Your last stupid move fenced in the department, making us less effective.
See also: fence

fence something in

to enclose an area within a fence. When they fenced the garden in, they thought the deer wouldn't be able to destroy the flowers. We fenced in the yard to make a safe place for the children.
See also: fence

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 someone or something in

Fig. to trap or enclose someone or something. The large city buildings hem me in. Don't hem in the bird. Let it have a way to escape.
See also: hem

hem and haw

to pause a lot and avoid saying something directly When asked what kind of woman he was looking for, he hemmed and hawed and finally admitted he was looking for a party girl.
See also: and, haw, hem

hem in somebody/something

also hem somebody/something in
to surround someone or something They found themselves hemmed in by the crowd. The building was hemmed in by high walls.
See also: hem

hum and haw

  (mainly British) also hem and haw (American & Australian)
to take a long time to say something and speak in a way that is not clear, in order to avoid giving an answer He hemmed and hawed and finally admitted taking the money. (mainly British)
See also: and, haw, hum

fence in

Also, hem in. Restrict or confine someone, as in He wanted to take on more assignments but was fenced in by his contract, or Their father was old-fashioned and the children were hemmed in by his rules. Both expressions transfer a literal form of enclosure to a figurative one. The first gained currency from a popular song in the style of a cowboy folk song by Cole Porter, "Don't Fence Me In" (1944), in which the cowboy celebrates open land and starry skies. The variant is much older, dating from the late 1500s.
See also: fence

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 in

1. To surround and enclose someone or something: Tall mountains hemmed in the valley. The troops hemmed their enemy in on all sides.
2. To restrict or confine someone or something: Don't hem me in with all these regulations. The police hemmed in the rowdy crowd.
See also: hem

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 ?
TAKE some of the fear out of showing off your legs with this coral dipped hem top, pounds 12.
NB: Hem is a composite character, and she has the qualifies of many a Bengali girl from a poor family--feisty, subversive, and determined.
Run after run, she puffed farther up the hill, climbed on behind Hem and shrieked with ecstasy as the toboggan flashed down the hill.
Com Hem is one of Sweden's leading suppliers of high-speed broadband, television and fixed-telephony.
In terms of products, the Global HEMS market can be segmented into five: Lighting Controls, Self-monitoring Systems and Services, Programmable Communicating Thermostats, Intelligent HVAC Controllers, and Advance Central Controllers.
Com Hem is a supplier of television, high-speed broadband and fixed-telephony in Sweden.
The HEMS products development industry is projected to witness flourishing period up to 2020 as many niche suppliers of products start to establish stronger presence within communications infrastructure, smart metering, and in-home energy interfaces.
Lot 2: Production and delivery of meals-chill, snacks and food products, from organic farming, for childcare facilities in the city of Hem
Com Hem is a further proof-point of the flexibility and feature richness of the BECS platform.
HEM vendors are seeking to be "the face" of the smart grid by providing consumers with actionable energy consumption information, often derived from smart meters.
Contact point(s): Service de la commande publique de la ville de Hem pour le groupement de commandes constitue entre les CCAS de Hem
Christine Margaret Hemming, wi of Birmingham Yardley MP John Hem ming, was not required to enter a ple during a brief appearance at the city magistrates' court.
Almatis) have reached an agreement under which Almatis will toll produce for HEM certain specialty hydrate flame retardant products previously produced and marketed by Almatis.
Transport performance of people to the city of Hem and its associated institutions: the CCAS of the city of Hem and hearth housing for the elderly.
Using the new TiVo service, Com Hem subscribers will be able to seamlessly search for and discover linear and on demand programming using elegant entertainment guide interfaces that are standardized across TV, computer, tablet and smartphone screens.