hem and haw

(redirected from Hemming and hawing)
Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

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

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

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 ?
After hemming and hawing for a week, Ann Veneman, head of the USDA, finally issued several new rules that the government should have imposed years ago.
While some vehicle manufacturers are researching and developing, or hemming and hawing, Toyota, which is certainly on track to achieving a technology position that's commensurate with its quality and productivity positions (which ought to scare the hell right out of vehicle manufacturers everywhere), has been deliberately working toward bringing alternative power trains to the streets of the world.
AFTER HEMMING AND HAWING (The Japan Times, an English-language daily)
After much hemming and hawing, the Senate finally followed up on a House effort to protect American consumers from the threat of excessive Internet access taxes.
Arlen Specter--heretofore known for creating the single--bullet theory for the Warren Commission, hemming and hawing with Anita Hill, appearing post-brain surgery with a shaved head, and voting aye on massive government spending even claims to be one.
To laughter Gargano acknowledged, "Yes, it has taken 25 years of careful consideration, and some might even call it hemming and hawing, for a governor to come around who is committed to those goals.
No more hemming and hawing about not knowing exactly how to define or allocate costs.
It streamlines the decision for anglers who want a more tangible way to remember the fish without hemming and hawing about whether to keep it.
After weeks of hemming and hawing, Belmonte and the Liberal Party finally made up their mind to stay in the minority bloc in the 17th Congress and scuttled plans to join the majority coalition led by Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
It's official: Castledale, who won the Santa Anita Derby, and St Averil, sixth as the tote-board favorite, arrived at Churchill on Monday afternoon after sharing a flight from California, certifying their trainers' plans to enter Saturday's race after some hemming and hawing.
After some hemming and hawing, Herzenberg admits to feeling a bit proud.
The Davao trip would end days of hemming and hawing by Belmonte.
Forget the hemming and hawing - if the public wants it, there will be a fourth movie.
For all of the hemming and hawing about market direction, we are higher than the last total capitulation, and what some would call the beginning of the current bull market, that began on October 9th, 2002.
Ramos on Saturday criticized the Aquino administration for hemming and hawing in the aftermath of the Jan.