Definition of Stem

Pronunciation: stĕm
v. i.1.To gleam.
His head bald, that shone as any glass, . . .
[And] stemed as a furnace of a leed [caldron].
- Chaucer.
n.1.A gleam of light; flame.
1.The principal body of a tree, shrub, or plant, of any kind; the main stock; the part which supports the branches or the head or top.
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.
- Sir W. Raleigh.
The lowering spring, with lavish rain,
Beats down the slender stem and breaded grain.
- Dryden.
2.A little branch which connects a fruit, flower, or leaf with a main branch; a peduncle, pedicel, or petiole; as, the stem of an apple or a cherry.
3.The stock of a family; a race or generation of progenitors.
While I do pray, learn here thy stem
And true descent.
- Herbert.
4.A branch of a family.
This is a stem
Of that victorious stock.
- Shak.
5.(Naut.) A curved piece of timber to which the two sides of a ship are united at the fore end. The lower end of it is scarfed to the keel, and the bowsprit rests upon its upper end. Hence, the forward part of a vessel; the bow.
6.Fig.: An advanced or leading position; the lookout.
Wolsey sat at the stem more than twenty years.
- Fuller.
7.Anything resembling a stem or stalk; as, the stem of a tobacco pipe; the stem of a watch case, or that part to which the ring, by which it is suspended, is attached.
8.(Bot.) That part of a plant which bears leaves, or rudiments of leaves, whether rising above ground or wholly subterranean.
9.(Zool.) The entire central axis of a feather.
10.(Mus.) The short perpendicular line added to the body of a note; the tail of a crotchet, quaver, semiquaver, etc.
11.(Gram.) The part of an inflected word which remains unchanged (except by euphonic variations) throughout a given inflection; theme; base.
From stem to stern
(Naut.) from one end of the ship to the other, or through the whole length.
Stem leaf
(Bot.) a leaf growing from the stem of a plant, as contrasted with a basal or radical leaf.
v. t.1.To remove the stem or stems from; as, to stem cherries; to remove the stem and its appendages (ribs and veins) from; as, to stem tobacco leaves.
2.To ram, as clay, into a blasting hole.
1.To oppose or cut with, or as with, the stem of a vessel; to resist, or make progress against; to stop or check the flow of, as a current.
[imp. & p. p. Stemmed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Stemming.]
[They] stem the flood with their erected breasts.
- Denham.
Stemmed the wild torrent of a barbarous age.
- Pope.
v. i.1.To move forward against an obstacle, as a vessel against a current.
Stemming nightly toward the pole.
- Milton.

Related Words

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Stellar parallax
Steller's sea cow
Stem leaf
Stench trap
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