Definition of hem and haw in English:

hem and haw


mainly North American
  • Hesitate; be indecisive.

    ‘I waste a lot of time hemming and hawing before going into action’
    • ‘But even though they were on discount, I hemmed and hawed.’
    • ‘However, after a few more minutes of hemming and hawing, his curiosity got the better of him and he unfolded the paper.’
    • ‘After my son hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust.’
    • ‘So they hem and haw and appear ever so grave and thoughtful.’
    • ‘But he hemmed and hawed for months.’
    • ‘After some hemming and hawing, I bought one.’
    • ‘Be a little of both, say nothing too definite, hem and haw, and split the difference.’
    • ‘The clerk hemmed and hawed, and finally said no.’
    • ‘He hemmed and hawed, but I eventually got him to call the other dealership.’
    • ‘There's no time to hem and haw.’