Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “stem”

stem

noun [C] uk   /stem/ us  

stem noun [C] (CENTRAL PART)

a central part of something from which other parts can develop or grow, or which forms a support the stick-like central part of a plant that grows above the ground and from which leaves and flowers grow, or a smaller thin part that grows from the central part and supports the leaves and flowers: flower stems the vertical part of a glass or similar container which supports the part into which you put liquid: Champagne glasses usually have long stems.

stem noun [C] (WORD)

the part of a word that is left after you take off the ending: From the stem 'sav-' you get 'saves', 'saved', 'saving' and 'saver'.

stem noun [C] (WATCH)

US the small part on the side of a watch that you turn to move the hands (= parts that point to the numbers), or to make the watch operate

stem noun [C] (SHIP)

the main supporting structure at the front of a ship

stem

verb [T] uk   /stem/ (-mm-) us  
to stop something unwanted from spreading or increasing: These measures are designed to stem the rise of violent crime. We must take action to stem the tide of resignations. to stop the flow of a liquid such as blood: She tied a handkerchief around the wound to stem the flow of blood.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of stem from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of stem?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Complete and whole, but you might be interested in these topics from the Full and empty topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “stem” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

light at the end of the tunnel

signs of improvement in a situation that has been bad for a long time, or signs that a long and difficult piece of work is almost finished

Word of the Day

The language of work

by Kate Woodford,
October 15, 2014
Most of us talk about our jobs. We tell our family and friends interesting or funny things that have happened in the workplace (=room where we do our job), we describe – and sometimes complain about – our bosses and colleagues and when we meet someone for the first time, we tell

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More