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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 ?
Hemmer in the hospitals emergency room revealed and when the results were available.
Married priests have experience that fits them into the Catholic mainstream: jobs, families, time constraints like everyone else," Hemmer remarked.
Coun Hemmer was accompanied on her regular estate walkabout by newly-elected UKIP member Coun Norman Dennis, who won the Westoe ward in South Shields for the party earlier this month.
We are overwhelmed by the response we have received especially by Beth and Roger Ailes, Georgette Mosbacher, Elaine Howard, General Mulholland, Bill Hemmer, Archbishop Broglio and our Founding Sponsor Bruce Parkman.
Keith Hemmer, from Bede's World, shows off caligraphy with pupils Kai Surtees and Ailish Callaghan.
Hemmer was traveling west on Newhall Ranch with his lights and sirens on when he approached McBean and waited for the cars, including a large white work van with no windows, to stop before proceeding, Arnold said.
8220;Our past board has done a tremendous job,” commented Hemmer.
One of those taking part, Laura Hemmer, 16, said: "These women were extremely brave.
The boy's mother, Lisa Smith, and friends Ron Reed and Sherri Hemmer were able to put out the blaze with pitchers of water, a garden hose and a blanket.
Developed over a period of three years, the Lamb programmable hemmer is a departure from standard designs that incorporates several unique features, says William Hartley, director of engineering for Lamb's body assembly group.
As part of our storm management procedures, Waste Management conducted post-storm observations and discussed the situation with local officials," said Tara Hemmer, area vice president for Waste Management's Greater Mid-Atlantic area.
Hemmer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Career Partners International.
Hemmer (English, Harper College) showcases the best minds of the Beat generation in this encyclopedia for middle and high school students.
Mimi Hemmer, an assistant manager at The Limited at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks, said traffic has been solid, but she expects the crowds to increase as Christmas approaches.