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Related to hemming: Hemming and hawing

deliberate over (someone or something)

To consider, discuss, or confer about someone or something, often for a lengthy period of time. This is a big decision, so I need some more time to deliberate over it with my family, all right?
See also: deliberate, over

fence in

1. To construct a fence around a particular area or thing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "fence" and "in." When our kids were little, we fenced our pool in so that they wouldn't be able to access it.
2. To restrict or limit someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "fence" and "around." If you already signed a contract with them, I'm afraid you're fenced in.
See also: fence

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 in

1. To surround someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hem" and "in." The police have hemmed in the burglars so that they can't escape from this area. It's very disappointing that towering mansions now completely hem in my little home.
2. To limit what someone or something can do. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hem" and "in." The terms of this contract really have me hemmed in—even my lawyer can't see a way out.
See also: hem
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hem and haw


hum and haw

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hem and haw, to

To avoid giving a definite answer. This expression is imitative of the sounds made in clearing the throat or making a slight noise to attract attention, signify agreement, or express doubt. Its use to express indecision began in the early eighteenth century. Jonathan Swift’s poem “My Lady’s Lamentation” (1728) had one version: “He haws and he hums. At last out it comes.” Much later Bliss Carman defined it poetically: “Hem and Haw were the sons of sin, created to shally and shirk; Hem lay ’round and Haw looked on while God did all the work” (“Hem and Haw,” 1896).
See also: and, hem
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
Police were called and Hemming and McConville were both arrested.
"I recognise that Mr Hemming has never been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault of Ms Baker and that the CPS decided in September, 2017, that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of any suspect in this case.
She has used crowdfunder website to raise funds towards her re-election campaign - the total is approaching PS8,000 - saying politics should not be a game solely for the independently wealthy, seen also as a dig at Hemming.
He told the court that Hemming had now had to abandon his sports and fitness college course because of the incident.
When asked about the dew factor which has troubled both the teams in the one-day matches, Hemming said: "We have applied a chemical all around the outfield that will remove dew.
At her trial, Mrs Hemming claimed she had no recollection of picking up the cat, which she released in the local area a day after she took it.
At Birmingham Crown Court, judge Elizabeth Fisher freed Hemming on bail.
He added: "Closed-circuit television cameras which were installed on the house captured the moment when Mrs Hemming approached the house, entered the house and finally left the house with the kitten under her arm.
Regan, president and chairman of Hemming Morse, Inc., brings the same energy, determination and integrity to his term as CalCPA chair that he brings daily to the office as he heads one of the nation's top forensic accounting practices.
This is a different kind of inquiry, Heidegger maintained, and Hemming agrees, raising Heidegger's silence about God into a decisive interruption of theology's wrongheaded tradition.
Hemming involves several steps, explained Phil Wienes, sales manager for Lamb Technicon Body & Assembly Systems of Chesterfield, Mich.
Teach your child, friend, husband or significant other to help you, and you're set for life when it comes to hemming.
Mr Hemming took legal action, arguing local authorities had a statutory duty under environmental protection legislation to keep streets clean - but judges twice ruled against him.
John Hemming (Lib Dem, Yardley) launched a court bid against the authority's controversial garden waste policy last year in which it began charging residents PS35 a year to remove garden waste.