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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

ho-hum

Dull or boring. I heard she got sick of her ho-hum existence and ran off to New York City.

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

hum with activity

Fig. [for a place] to be busy with activity. The kitchen hummed with activity as usual. Our main office was humming with activity during the busy season.
See also: activity, hum

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

ho-hum

(ˈhoˈhəm)
mod. dull; causing yawns of boredom. (Ho-hum is a representation of the sound of a yawn.) Clare played another ho-hum concert at the music hall last night.

hum job

and hummer
n. a sexual act involving holding the penis in the mouth while humming. (see also humdinger.) He asked for a hum job, so she hummed him a lullaby.
See also: hum, job

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 ?
Catchy and hummable, it will echo long after you put the CD down.
Their mellow voices and intergalactic wonder - filtered through hummable and gently psychedelic kraut rock - take up where The Beta Band stopped off.
He did, of course, inherit Tchaikovsky's incomparably hummable score - the second act alone is a veritable top 10 of ballet tunes subliminally absorbed into mainstream culture - and was aided immeasurably by John Macfarlane's extraordinary designs.
Expect subtle folk-pop that's not afraid to include a hummable hook.
Fully formed hummable tunes with sing-along choruses don't lend themselves to symphonic development: they are either transformed beyond recognition - negating the work's selling point - or the symphony becomes a "spot the tune" exercise and its musical worth is vitiated.
Fortunately, audiences saw beyond that and simply listened to the great tunes, which are as hummable now as they were when first composed in 1875.
What sets Marlowe apart from the many bands on the cusp of hitmaker status is an ability to write music that is eminently hummable, clever and classic, without sounding as if it has been covered, copied or stolen from their parents' record collection.
Any fan of big musicals will know this instantly hummable line from Barry Manilow's hit musical Copacabana which proved such a big hit in Huddersfield last year.
EVERY so often a female singer songwriter comes along with a debut that's more than just pretty and hummable.
Yet they wanted to create something warm, very familiar and comfortable to children, with songs that were hummable, plus soothing music to help little ones relax and go to sleep.
It lacks percussive propulsion, guitar grit, or hummable hooks--the very stuff that endeared these otherwise experimental mumblers to millions.
Had a horse called Silver and a sidekick called Tonto and the most hummable theme tune of the 1950s.
FOR all its hummable tunes - and there are many - West Side Story has a dark heart.
Against The Wheel bring together intense rock and hummable hooks.
It's one of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's earliest works featuring some of their most hummable songs, flawlessly performed in this latest revival.