stem

See also: STEM

English

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Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Old English stemn, stefn (stem, trunk (of a tree)), from Proto-Germanic *stamniz.

Noun

stem (plural stems)

  1. The stock of a family; a race or generation of progenitors.
    • Milton
      all that are of noble stem
    • Herbert
      While I do pray, learn here thy stem / And true descent.
  2. A branch of a family.
    • Shakespeare
      This is a stem / Of that victorious stock.
  3. An advanced or leading position; the lookout.
    • Fuller
      Wolsey sat at the stem more than twenty years.
  4. (botany) The above-ground stalk (technically axis) of a vascular plant, and certain anatomically similar, below-ground organs such as rhizomes, bulbs, tubers, and corms.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      After they are shot up thirty feet in length, they spread a very large top, having no bough nor twig in the trunk or the stem.
  5. A slender supporting member of an individual part of a plant such as a flower or a leaf; also, by analogy, the shaft of a feather.
    the stem of an apple or a cherry
    • 2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7:
      Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
  6. A narrow part on certain man-made objects, such as a wine glass, a tobacco pipe, a spoon.
  7. (linguistics) The main part of an uninflected word to which affixes may be added to form inflections of the word. A stem often has a more fundamental root. Systematic conjugations and declensions derive from their stems.
  8. ( slang) A person's leg.
    • 2008, Lori Wilde, ‎Rhonda Nelson, ‎Cara Summers, August Harlequin Blaze
      She was perfectly, fuckably proportioned everywhere else, both above and below her waist. A pocket-size Venus, with the longest stems he'd ever seen on someone so dang diminutive.
  9. (typography) A vertical stroke of a letter.
  10. (music) A vertical stroke marking the length of a note in written music.
  11. (nautical) The vertical or nearly vertical forward extension of the keel, to which the forward ends of the planks or strakes are attached.
  12. Component on a bicycle that connects the handlebars to the bicycle fork
  13. (anatomy) A part of an anatomic structure considered without its possible branches or ramifications.
  14. ( slang) A crack pipe.
Synonyms
Derived terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb

stem (third-person singular simple present stems, present participle stemming, simple past and past participle stemmed)

  1. To remove the stem from.
    to stem cherries; to stem tobacco leaves
  2. To be caused or derived; to originate.
    The current crisis stems from the short-sighted politics of the previous government.
  3. To descend in a family line.
  4. To direct the stem (of a ship) against; to make headway against.
  5. ( obsolete) To hit with the stem of a ship; to ram.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.ii:
      As when two warlike Brigandines at sea, / With murdrous weapons arm'd to cruell fight, / Doe meete together on the watry lea, / They stemme ech other with so fell despight, / That with the shocke of their owne heedlesse might, / Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh a sonder []
  6. To ram (clay, etc.) into a blasting hole.
Synonyms
  • (to originate, stem from): to be due to, to arise from
Translations

Etymology 2

From Old Norse stemma (to stop, stem, dam) (whence Danish stemme/ stæmme (to stem, dam up)), from Proto-Germanic *stammijaną. Cognate with German stemmen, Middle Dutch stemmen, stempen. Compare stammer.

Verb

stem (third-person singular simple present stems, present participle stemming, simple past and past participle stemmed)

  1. To stop, hinder (for instance, a river or blood).
    to stem a tide
    • Denham
      [They] stem the flood with their erected breasts.
    • Alexander Pope
      Stemmed the wild torrent of a barbarous age.
  2. (skiing) To move the feet apart and point the tips of the skis inward in order to slow down the speed or to facilitate a turn.
Synonyms
Translations

Etymology 3

Noun

stem (plural stems)

  1. Alternative form of steem

Etymology 4

Acronym of science, technology, engineering, (and) mathematics.

Noun

stem (plural stems)

  1. Alternative form of STEM
    • 2015 May 29th, BBC News, How do US black students perform at school?"
      Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are a particular cause for concern because within them there are more pronounced stereotypes, extreme competitiveness and gender inequities regarding the abilities and competencies of black male and female students.

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