verb (used without object)

  1. to utter a sound representing a hesitation or pause in speech.


  1. a sound or pause of hesitation.Compare hem2(def 3).


  1. (used as a word of command to a horse or other draft animal, usually directing it to turn to the left.)

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to turn or make a turn to the left: The horse refused to haw.


  1. the fruit of the Old World hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, or of other species of the same genus.
  2. the hawthorn.


  1. the thin, protective membrane at the inner corner of the lower eyelid of a horse, dog, etc.; nictitating membrane.

  1. Hawaii.


  1. the round or oval fruit (a pome) of the hawthorn, usually red or yellow, containing one to five seeds
  2. another name for hawthorn

noun, interjection

  1. an inarticulate utterance, as of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem


  1. (intr) to make this sound
  2. hem and haw or hum and haw See hem 2 (def. 3)


  1. archaic a yard or close


  1. the nictitating membrane of a horse or other domestic animal

“enclosure,” Old English haga “enclosure, hedge,” from Proto-Germanic *hag- (cf. Old Norse hagi, Old Saxon hago, German Hag “hedge;” Middle Dutch hage, Dutch haag, as in the city name The Hague). See hag and hedge. Meaning “fruit of the hawthorn bush” (Old English) is perhaps short for *hægberie.


“hesitate in speech,” 1580s, imitative. Related: Hawed; hawing. The noun in this sense is from c.1600. Haw-haw “style of affected enunciation” is from 1841, imitative.

see hem and haw.

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