Main definitions of stem in English

: stem1stem2

stem1

noun

  • 1The main body or stalk of a plant or shrub, typically rising above ground but occasionally subterranean.

    • ‘Older studies noted that runners, stolons or prostrate stems of many plants became more erect when shaded.’
    • ‘Egyptian papyrus was formed by cutting strips from the stems of the papyrus plant, placing them in layers, pounding, then drying them.’
    • ‘In late autumn, cut down the stems to 6in above ground level when the leaves turn brown and lift the tubers as required.’
    • ‘Cut back around a third of the oldest stems to just above ground level to encourage the production of new growth from the base of the plant.’
    • ‘Variables included the number of stems and percent plant cover in the shrub, subcanopy, and canopy layers.’
    • ‘For best results apply mulch to a depth of least 15 cm thick, avoiding the area immediately around plant stems and tree trunks.’
    • ‘If the shrub is still too tall, cut back the stems to just above a strong side shoot.’
    • ‘Cut back the old stems to around ground level then, and give the plants a feed.’
    • ‘Once plants had built strong stems and trunks, they could stand upright and reach for the sun.’
    • ‘We conclude that number of stem segments on longest stems of plants was a good predictor of force necessary to remove terminal segments.’
    • ‘The cultivated plant is a small shrub with numerous stems (not a tree with a rounded head as it grows in the wild).’
    • ‘The damage usually starts out near the end of the branch and works its way toward the main stem of the plant.’
    • ‘What really hurts is if they lay eggs on the ground under the plant or on the stem at ground level.’
    • ‘Part of the price cut stems from a new body welding line at the Kentucky plant that Toyota is adopting worldwide.’
    • ‘Trim the leaves from the lower part of the stem, dip the end in rooting hormone powder or liquid and bury in the soil with about 8cm of stem showing above the ground.’
    • ‘Keep the mulch two to three inches away from tree and shrub stems to prevent stem decay and pest problems.’
    • ‘Each of the crises listed above stems in some way from that willingness to think of our own particular interest as somehow divorced from that of everyone around us.’
    • ‘Both the blue and the yellow have the classic, satiny translucent petals of the poppy tribe, both, characteristically, are held on wiry stems above the parent plant.’
    • ‘For formal hedges, shorten main and secondary stems just before the plants begin their second season of growth.’
    • ‘Botanists have long noted the phenomenon of sap accumulation in tissue above a girdle or major wound in the woody stems of plants.’
    trunk, stalk, stock, cane
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The stalk supporting a fruit, flower, or leaf, and attaching it to a larger branch, twig, or stalk.
      • ‘Mature specimens develop a thick trunk and stems with leaves and flowers at the top of the plant, often too high for the gardener to enjoy.’
      • ‘Symptoms include small black spots on leaves, petioles and stems of new shoots.’
      • ‘Avoid pruning leaves or stems while the fruit is ripening, and consider shading the fruit.’
      • ‘A few members, such as Asparagus and Solomon's seal have leaves attached along the stem.’
      • ‘As they ooze from the pycnidia, they are splashed by rain onto the leaves, petioles and stems of newly emerged shoots.’
      • ‘Vine with heart-shaped leaves attaches itself to a support by clasping leaf stems.’
      • ‘The female Thrypticus deposits an egg in a water-hyacinth petiole - the stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem.’
      • ‘Middle portions of the stem show branch and leaf scars, which are disposed together in nodes.’
      • ‘This evergreen clematis is covered in perfumed, pink suffused white flowers in spring and needs a sheltered wall where stems, leaves and flowers can be in full sun with roots in shade.’
      • ‘Erythronium dens-canis is the true dog's tooth violet, the name comes from the shape of the corm, and has rose coloured flowers on 10 cm stems and purple marked leaves.’
      • ‘Koalas inhabit eucalyptus woodlands where they feed on eucalyptus leaves, stems, flowers, and bark.’
      • ‘The stems had one leaf at each node and apart from the flower branches the stems had no side shoots.’
      • ‘Long stems of summer flowering hardy jasmine that protrude from their support can be cut back to tidy them up.’
      • ‘I watched one bee make a bad landing, slip off, fall backwards, bounce off a branch in the stem of the flower, and land on her back on the ground.’
      • ‘They have alternate, elliptical, smooth-edged leaves growing on smooth stems bearing two or more flowers.’
      • ‘Well, I was outside the shop sweeping the dead leaves and flower stems away into the street gutter, and He walked by.’
      • ‘The six common foliar diseases shown here affect primarily leaves and sometimes the fruits and stems.’
      • ‘Shoots were cut, divided into stems with broad leaves, tendrils, flowers, and fruits, dried and weighed separately.’
      • ‘Like all grasses, sugar cane has a jointed stem, and its leaves and branches come from the shoots at each joint.’
      • ‘It relates to the disposition of leaves on a stem and seeds in a flower head.’
  • 2A long and thin supportive or main section of something.

    ‘the main stem of the wing feathers’
    • ‘Slide the nose of a rivet gun over the stem and squeeze the handle only until the rivet is secure.’
    • ‘Basically, it is mainly pace and turbulence that determines whether a traditional stick or a wire stem is used.’
    • ‘Hold the bar with your other hand near the stem to limit swerving as you reach down.’
    • ‘And too, in the smallest of sizes, the rigid stem cams were easy to get stuck.’
    • ‘The radiation of birds from the theropod stem may be an example of this sort of thing.’
    1. 2.1The slender part of a wineglass between the base and the bowl.
      • ‘Recalling that dismal time, Iris stared at the crystal stem of her wine glass.’
      • ‘The wine glasses are very thin and delicate, with elegant slender stems and a simple, clean design.’
      • ‘She fingered the stem of the wine glass and slowly brought her eyes up to his.’
      • ‘He lowered his eyes to the table, anxiously fiddling with the stem of his wine glass.’
      • ‘I fiddle with the stem of my wineglass, glancing around the restaurant at all the other happy couples.’
      • ‘Dani's fingers tighten around the stem of the wineglass she's holding.’
      • ‘The form of this glass is characterized by an inverted perfect squat cone with ornamental glasswork where the cone meets the stem and the stem meets the base.’
      • ‘Kim sits across from me at the table, fingering the stem of her wineglass and giving me The Look.’
      • ‘The oldest surviving wine glass with a stem and foot are 15th century enameled goblets that holds more than four ounces of liquid.’
      • ‘Mark shakes his head and looks away, running a finger up the stem of his empty wine glass.’
      • ‘These little charms, when hung around the stem of a wine glass, personalize the drink and make it easy to decipher which wine glass is yours on a crowded cluttered party table.’
      • ‘Broodingly, she twirled the stem of the wine glass between her fingers as the crimson wine twirled around dangerously close to rim of the glass.’
      • ‘On cut glass the foot may be so ornate that the mark may be placed at the top of the stem of a wineglass or at the base of a jog's handle.’
      • ‘Wine glasses with green and cranberry-coloured bowls on clear stems also became popular at this time.’
      • ‘Using acrylic paint and glass medium, paint a pattern along the stem and base of the glass and let it dry well before using.’
      • ‘The wine and champagne glasses start from the geometric lines of a triangular diamond cut base, leading through to a bowl that mirrors the angles of the stem and triangular base.’
    2. 2.2The tube of a tobacco pipe.
      • ‘It originally hails from America where Native Americans used its hollowed-out stems as tobacco pipes and tubes.’
    3. 2.3A rod or cylinder in a mechanism, for example the sliding shaft of a bolt or the winding pin of a watch.
      • ‘The adjustment of the system allows for flexibility and use on a wide range of valve stems with various stroke lengths.’
      • ‘It does not improve the mechanical characteristics of the stem, but does improve shock damping.’
      • ‘In a second position of the valve stem, the amount of aerosol disposed in the metering chamber is released.’
      • ‘It does not improve the mechanical characteristics of the stem, but it does improve shock damping.’
      • ‘Carbon fiber cranks, wheels, handlebars, stems and saddles also abounded, and Campagnolo even has a carbon headset top cup.’
      • ‘The electrical switches are initialized by an adjustable system, according to the random position of the valve stem when it is opened or closed.’
      • ‘All four heads use a patented feeding mechanism that keeps the feed rollers centred on the stem as the diameter changes.’
      • ‘The stem makes a nice little handle to hold on to.’
      • ‘Just wanted to say thanks for your help - it worked and I've ordered new bolts for my salvaged stem.’
      • ‘The simplistic rubber plug for the presta only valve stems makes it so easy to use.’
      • ‘It uses a by-now obligatory two-bolt detachable faceplate for easy bar swapping, and a unique opposing bolt clamp on the stem.’
      • ‘The red dot signifies that it's at the light spot, so line up the red dot with your valve stem.’
      • ‘The left valve became an elongate stem anchored in the sea floor.’
      • ‘Hold a container under the valve and turn the valve stem about a half turn or until air and water flows out.’
      • ‘The normal transfer of motion from a cam lobe to a valve stem is there by interrupted.’
      • ‘The wheel is balanced when it spins down to a stop at random spots, rather than with the valve stem up.’
      • ‘I then cut and filed the excess length off the bolts so that the stems and nuts are not apparent any more.’
      • ‘Orange scaffolding then appeared, looking much like oversized staples, either stem bolted into a brick.’
      • ‘However, it sounds like the valve stem is worn and needs to be replaced.’
      • ‘The change stems in part from mechanical adjustments.’
    4. 2.4A vertical stroke in a letter or musical note.
      • ‘LiquidTrax provides music editors with the ability to mix their own custom score using four stems from a stock piece of music.’
      • ‘For example, the addition of a stem carries no essential meaning that requires a minim to last half as long as a semibreve, but convention dictates it.’
      • ‘The writing is never less than neat, but sometimes the vertical strokes - stems and long rests - waver as if written by a shaking hand.’
  • 3Grammar
    The root or main part of a noun, adjective, or other word, to which inflections or formative elements are added.

    • ‘Vary site descriptions by using word stems and related keywords.’
    • ‘There are a few other English words (neither, nor, none) which appear to consist of a stem prefixed with the negative morpheme n.’
    • ‘A typical Ojibwa sentence contains a multipart verb, the core meaning of which is carried by a verb stem, itself composed of meaningful elements.’
    • ‘This is a scientific term derived by making an English plural from octopod, which is the bare stem of the Greek word, not its singular.’
    1. 3.1literary, archaic The main line of descent of a family or nation.
      ‘the Hellenic tribes were derived from the Aryan stem’
  • 4The main upright timber or metal piece at the bow of a ship, to which the ship's sides are joined.

    • ‘The political outrage over the choice of shipyard stems from the fact that it is in the backyard of the former senate majority leader Trent Lott.’
    • ‘The rescue lasted for about two hours and the crew worked for much of the time waist deep in water as the waves broke over the stem of the lifeboat.’
    • ‘Experts who have been diving to the wreck off Portsmouth for the last month have excavated a five-metre-long piece of wood which they believe is the front stem of the ship's keel.’
    • ‘From stem to stern, your ship will be held together by a thick cable woven from the most tenacious strands of grass we can find.’
    • ‘So a team from the dock came on-board and inspected the ship, stem to stern.’
    • ‘These will be carried on two cargo decks designed for roll-on, roll-off cargo handling through the stem.’
    • ‘Standing at the stem and watching her wide wake stretch to the horizon is a favorite pastime.’
    • ‘We would then come up the stem of the ship for a landing.’
  • 5US informal A pipe used for smoking crack or opium.

verb

  • 1[no object] Originate in or be caused by.

    ‘many of the universities' problems stem from rapid expansion’
    • ‘A great part of the student misgivings may stem from a difference between people's preconceptions of what co-op is like and what they actually experience.’
    • ‘I had my best results at a grand slam and my best memories stem from Wimbledon.’
    • ‘It is not a coincidence that suddenly today more and more children are turning up with reading disabilities that stem from a difficulty to process language.’
    • ‘The band's origins stem from Edwards wanting to create a big band to perform improvised or free music, which is still anchored in some way, by a structure.’
    • ‘It is time Canadians demand that governments stop pretending that these policies stem from economic facts and influence only economic issues.’
    • ‘Do her fears stem from difficulties inherent in conducting a relationship in the public eye?’
    • ‘The university has said its problems stem from a lack of Government funding.’
    • ‘Val Pellice produces a speciality cheese, the origins of which stem from the early Middle Ages when occasional Saracenic groups ventured into the Alps.’
    • ‘But the Home Office's difficulties here will stem from its belated discovery of the need to bolt aspects of the right kind of ID system onto the wrong one.’
    • ‘The problems stem from the need to have detailed security checks made on paid staff and volunteers at schemes run by the charity, which comes into contact with thousands of youngsters across the county.’
    • ‘Both peoples continue to draw on traditional Balkan stereotypes, which were reinforced in the recent Socialist era but which stem from much older folk memories.’
    • ‘This surprising result could possibly stem from the fact that the latter placed higher emphasis on internationalization in general.’
    • ‘While being kind to animals sometimes springs from having a gentle heart, it can also stem from a fear of being punished if animals are treated badly.’
    • ‘The first and most common reason for recycling, that we need to conserve landfill capacity, seems to stem from the misconception that we are running out of space in which to bury our rubbish.’
    • ‘The interest in gaining control of Jurys is thought to stem from its valuable land bank, particularly a seven acre site in the Ballsbridge area of Dublin, which is home to three hotels.’
    • ‘The university has said any problems stem from a lack of Government funding.’
    • ‘Its origins stem from 1898, when a Maj Davidson of the US army bolted a machine gun to a 3-cylinder car.’
    • ‘Part of the disaffection with the local Labour campaign also seems to stem from a feeling in some quarters, reported to this website, that it was ‘intimidatory’.’
    • ‘This result could stem from the landlord's perception of having contracted a good manager.’
    • ‘Many of the difficulties stem from continually falling prices.’
    have its origins in, arise from, originate from, spring from, derive from, come from, be rooted in, emanate from, issue from, flow from, proceed from, result from, be consequent on
    be caused by, be brought about by, be brought on by, be produced by
    View synonyms
  • 2[with object] Remove the stems from (fruit or tobacco leaves)

    • ‘Mint is not to be stemmed to keep the leaves from clogging the teapot spout.’
    • ‘The perfect knife for hunting is different than the one used for stemming strawberries.’
    • ‘They will love making thumbprints in the cookies but might have trouble sitting still for less glamorous tasks like stemming cherry tomatoes.’
  • 3[with object] (of a boat) make headway against (the tide or current)

    • ‘But he, like Canute, will not stem the spring tide’
    • ‘To stem the tide, so to speak, the Pebble Beach Company has undertaken major projects at major expense.’

Phrases

  • from stem to stern

    • 1From the front to the back, especially of a ship.

      ‘surges of water rocked their boats from stem to stern’
      • ‘Slowly but steadily I work from stem to stern, seeking out all the tiny matted bits under her arms and down her tummy that have evaded the brush and set up colonies during the warm weather.’
      • ‘Then a massive explosion rips through the shuttle bay, rocking the ship from stem to stern.’
      • ‘The harbor is filled every day with all manner of sleek vessels - from 10-foot kayaks, to 30-foot sloops, to oceangoing cargo ships that stretch almost 1,000 feet from stem to stern.’
      • ‘At twenty-five metres from stem to stern it wasn't a small vessel.’
      • ‘We sailed on into the dreaded Bay of Biscay, anticipating the worst, expecting mountainous waves to wash down the decks from stem to stern and ourselves to be battened down below hatches.’
      • ‘At that moment a heavy wave struck the ship, smashing plates in the mess and shaking the ship from stem to stern, causing much hilarity in the mess; but up on deck poor Winton had vanished.’
      • ‘Both handmaids bounced about the ship from stem to stern and port to starboard, finding myriad wonders in the azure blue sea: porpoises, jellyfish, the wave of the sea cut by the prow or the foam of the ship's wake.’
      • ‘Lying in 20 metres of water she is perfect from stem to stern with the exception of her superstructure which has been wiped from the upper deck in its entirety.’
      • ‘On this first dive we wanted to do a general sweep from stem to stern to assess the wreck's condition.’
      • ‘I followed sailors from both countries as tours were given from stem to stern on board HMS Portland.’
      1. 1.1Along the entire length of something; throughout.
        ‘the album is a joy from stem to stern’
        • ‘Not only is it needle-like from stem to stern, but it has an awful lot of length both in front and back of where the crew sits.’
        • ‘Not only is it needle-like from stem to stern, but also it has an awful lot of length both in front and back of where the crew sits.’

Origin

Old English stemn, stefn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stam and German Stamm. stem is related to Dutch steven, German Steven.

Main definitions of stem in English

: stem1stem2

stem2

verb

  • 1[with object] Stop or restrict (the flow of something)

    ‘a nurse did her best to stem the bleeding’
    • ‘A new offence will also be created of using children or innocent parties to hide or carry knives or guns, in an attempt to stem the rising violent crime statistics.’
    • ‘The French embassy said it was unbiased guidance for French companies who were thinking of moving; others, like Cadic, saw it as a thinly veiled attempt to stem the flow.’
    • ‘Hawass says global efforts to stem illicit trade in antiquities are starting to bear fruit.’
    • ‘Violent and disruptive pupils could be offered psychotherapy in a controversial new move to stem the rising tide of indiscipline in Scotland's schools.’
    • ‘Potter confessed City's second-half showing could not match that of the first but believed Radcliffe deserved credit for stemming the flow of goals conceded before grabbing a late consolation ten minutes from time.’
    • ‘It also suggests that they would be willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to stemming the flow of pollution from the 150 million plastic carrier bags used in the United Kingdom each week.’
    • ‘There should be a right of intervention where it is necessary to stem large scale loss of life and to provide urgent protection against brutality and ethnic cleansing.’
    • ‘It is a low tech but highly effective way of stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into this country.’
    • ‘Yew Tree Tarn, near Coniston, is in line for a £37, 500 revamp which is aimed at stemming the flow of water from the dam - which has been built on a geological fault.’
    • ‘According to one British expert, had the Prestige been accompanied into a nearby port after its initial pleas, calmer seas would have stemmed the spill and allowed the oil to be removed from the tanker.’
    • ‘Nor should it be viewed as a matter of stemming the flow of scientists overseas, as Queensland's Premier, Peter Beattie, gratuitously implied.’
    • ‘Two fine run-outs stemmed the flow and left the impression that the visitors' eventual 139/9 was ten runs short of a potentially winning total.’
    • ‘Swan played a major role in stemming the flow of goals conceded at the end of last season and was rewarded with a new one-year contract over the summer.’
    • ‘We created an outside stop tap to stem the flow and then covered the hole over with boarding as a temporary measure.’
    • ‘First and the foremost, stem the population explosion, the mother of all ills.’
    • ‘Another area of co-operation was predicated on Bulgaria's strategic location as a gateway to Europe, meaning that it had a key role in stemming the illegal flows of drugs, arms and human trafficking.’
    • ‘However the copious amount of alcohol flowing freely stemmed any negative thoughts on the day, and everyone had a top time.’
    • ‘The UN Security Council approved a resolution permitting a US-led military intervention to stem the refugee flows and restore stability in northern Iraq.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy will attempt to stem the flow of oil from the sunken Royal Oak battleship by carrying out tests on a replica of the vessel.’
    • ‘But that only temporarily stemmed the flow of goals and Steve Carson made it four after 33 minutes before Rankin added a fifth minutes later.’
    staunch, stop, halt, check, hold back, restrain, restrict, control, contain, curb
    block, dam
    slow, lessen, reduce, diminish, retard
    stanch
    stay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Stop the spread or development of (something undesirable)
      ‘an attempt to stem the rising tide of unemployment’
      • ‘To stem the flow, AMD is expected to renegotiate millions in debt coming due over the next four years.’
      • ‘The budget was therefore crucial to the ruling coalition, particularly the JVP, to stem a collapse of popular support.’
      • ‘The various state governments' reluctance to switch over to VAT was stemmed by the fear of loss of revenues.’
      • ‘For all their usefulness, Blackmore concedes his engineering marvels do little more than buy scientists the time to work out how to permanently stem the salt bleeding from the landscape.’
      • ‘To succeed, Mr. Obama said, the administration's plan must include bailing out banks to get credit flowing and stemming the tide of home foreclosures that have swept the country.’
      • ‘The company is expected to announce an alliance with that company in an attempt to stem the defection of customers to the cable companies.’
      • ‘Yet there appears to be no effective means to stem its activities.’
      • ‘Sadly, my vet did not iodine the umbilical cords, and I lost three to bacterial septicemia before IV antibiotics stemmed the tide.’
      • ‘The steelband movement is strategically poised to play a useful role in stemming the crime rate in T & T.’
      • ‘Christine Rankin alone will not be able to single-handedly stem the tide of political correctness at the Families Commission.’
      • ‘Stemming this problem and the spread of HIV among black college students won't be easy.’
      • ‘But even these statements are generally qualified by the admission that such measures have thus far failed to stem the recurrence of such bloody incidents.’
      • ‘If giving advice, advisers will have to consider whether you can afford the mortgage, in an attempt to stem irresponsible lending.’
      • ‘The chair, a local journalist, fails to stem the tide of ever more dull questions.’
      • ‘Finding ways to control costs associated with healthcare delivery will be critical to Obama's efforts to stem the tide of the current global recession.’
      • ‘The spurious argument that Lewin was ineffective in stemming crime is so openly dishonest that Jamaicans like myself have started to tune out.’
      • ‘Even "Trojan" buses packed with police failed to stem the problem.’
      • ‘Policy can and should be focused on stemming the tide of relationship breakdown.’
  • 2Skiing
    [no object] Slide the tail of one ski or both skis outward in order to turn or slow down.

Origin

Middle English (in the sense to stop, delay): from Old Norse stemma, of Germanic origin. The skiing term (early 20th century) is from the German verb stemmen.

Main definitions of stem in English

: stem1stem2

STEM

  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (as an educational category)

    ‘the academy is seeking to appoint a Teaching and Learning Coordinator for STEM subjects’
    • ‘Perhaps most notable is the lower representation of these groups in doctoral degrees overall, but particularly in the STEM disciplines.’
    • ‘We must encourage more students to choose STEM options at 14, 16 and 18.’
    • ‘Women and minorities are distinguished by their lack of presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.’
    • ‘Specifically, we concentrate on K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences for students and teachers.’
    • ‘Between 1985 and 2000 the number of baccalaureate degrees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, excluding biology, fell by 18.6 percent.’
    • ‘Young people need to have clear awareness of the wide range of worthwhile and remunerative careers to which STEM subjects can lead.’
    • ‘One of the major initiatives of the Institute is to encourage more blind people to study and pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).’
    • ‘In executive/managerial, professional and STEM occupations, however, the trend is the opposite; the wage gap between men and women actually grew between 1995 and 2003.’
    • ‘There is tremendous interest in the STEM community in working with Government to encourage more young people to opt for STEM, and we are responding to this.’
    • ‘The under-representation of girls in physics post-16 is a serious issue for the UK and in particular for the STEM community.’