Origin of Hem and also Haw

This expression first became well-known in the latter fifty percent of the 1700s. One of its beforehand uses comes from Jonathan Swift’s 1728 city “My Lady’s Lamentation.”

He haws and he hums. In ~ last the end it comes.

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It originates from the separate interpretations of hem and haw.

Hem comes from the late 1400s and method to clean one’s neck to obtain someone’s attention. A person can do this in a polite method or a rude way. If a human wants to be extra polite they can actually say the word ahem. People also make a hemming sound as soon as hesitating due to the fact that they don’t want to price a inquiry directly.


Haw is similar, and also is a sound the hesitation. This native dates back to the 1600s.

A person can hem and also haw in two main ways. One way is come say numerous things in bespeak to protect against answering a question. The other means is to provides sounds of suspicion such as, um, er, or uh.

Examples that Hem and Haw

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In this example, a guy uses the expression while talking to his friend about her new outfit.

Rodrigo: Hi, Alisha!

Alisha: Hi! What do you think that my new shoes? They have live goldfish in the platform heels.


Rodrigo: Oh, well, er…That is to say, ahem. Um. What deserve to one say around something like that? i mean…

Alisha: Enough! You can stop hemming and hawing. I have the right to tell you dislike them.


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In the example below, two friends are pointing out the food that one of them made.

Luis: you’ve hardly touched the soup that ns cooked because that you! don’t you prefer it?

Stephanie: Oh, uh, well, it’s tough to say, exactly. I often like soup, but, ummm, is this yes, really soup? ns think you are constantly a an excellent cook, but, uh, possibly I i will not ~ eat much more of this particular dish, because, um…

Luis: Okay, I acquire it. You deserve to just be ethical with me. The not crucial to hem and also haw like a fool.

More Examples

This excerpt is native a sporting activities journalist questioning an athlete a question. As soon as he hesitated and also avoided answering, she made him answer directly.

Apple asked Nelson Figueroa if the Mets letting Matt Harvey key Monday is the right decision?

Figgie didn’t precisely hem and also haw, yet did gloss over the question.

“I questioning again,” a slightly agitated apologize said. “Do friend think it was the right decision.”

Figueroa answer directly. –New York everyday News

This excerpt is around the branch of brand-new York, and also how likely will do a fast decision on whether or no to come to be a presidential candidate.

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Summary

The phrase hem and also haw means to make apprehension sounds, or just to hesitate, to stop answering a concern or making a decision.