to hem and haw

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - hem and haw

"to hem and haw"

to hesitate to say something directly;

to be indecisive;

to equivocate


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - hem and haw

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: C'mon. Let's go. We need a decision. The shop floor is sitting idle. Production is suffering.

Colleague 2: Well, this is a complex issue and making a decision one way or another requires some careful consideration. On the one hand ...

Colleague 1: We don't have time for you to hem and haw all day. If we don't get the shop back to work right away, we will be behind for weeks.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - hem and haw

Two friends are standing at the ticket counter of a movie theater ...

Friend 1: Four of the eight movies on offer look really good.

Friend 2: OK. Pick one. I don't really care which movie we see.

Friend 1: Well, the actors in Raid are all top notch but Blink got some really good reviews. Let's see. Jazz looks good but I have already read the book.

Friend 2: If you stand here hemming and hawing and not deciding, we are going to miss the start of any movie you might choose.

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to hem and haw - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   202   click for frequency by country

to hem and haw - Gerund Form:

Hemming and hawing, he simply was unable to make a decision.

to hem and haw - Examples:

1)  The debtor can hem and haw... he can delay and obfuscate. But he can't pay.

2)  Use the morality aspect. Some people will hem and haw about such ideas, but seeds will be planted.

3)  All others would hem and haw and make excuses for keeping such legislation in force. 

4)  ... bite the bullet and go today, or give myself a whole other week to hem and haw and second guess myself.

5)  ... would hem and haw and try to keep his/her options open and I would understand and ...

6)  While some of you reading this may still hem and haw about templates, here's the real clincher ... 

7)  The EU and UN would hem and haw and do nothing. Only America and Britain and a few others would try to ...

8)  My poor family and close friends had to listen to me hem and haw over whether to leave for months. Thank goodness that phase is finally over.

9)  So they will hem and haw and try to avoid your question.

10)  ... to want money up front, but most of the time if you hem and haw enough, they'll waive the fee.

11)  The skeptics can hem and haw all they want, but good photography WILL make or break your products or services.

12)  ... was about our credibility being on the line, so we did not hem and haw. It was a decision our divided Committee reached and recommended to ... 

13)  The clerics mustn't be allowed to hem and haw and hedge. They should be pinned down on the issue and forced to take ...

14)  ... it's time to change course -- before you hem and haw your life away.

15)  ... random thoughts, and a lot of unfinished drafts. but then I would hem and haw, fiddle, delete, insert, delete, fudge fudge fudge with structure, ...

16)  Ask him. He will hem and haw and wiggle and squirm, but he will not, ... 

17)  I think on the other hand if you hem and haw and make your reasons seem vague, it can kind of string another person along.

18)  ... is that the book has the feeling of listening to an old man hem and haw for 200 pages without resolution. 

19)  Three years later she continues to hem and haw when asked simple questions.

20)  I've got friends who are very indecisive and they hem and haw for weeks.