'em

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Earlier hem, from Old English him, heom, originally a dative plural form but in Middle English coming to serve as an accusative plural as well.

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

'em

  1. (now colloquial) Them (typically after a preposition, or otherwise with accusative or dative force; now only in unstressed position).
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XVI:
      ‘Lette hem be,’ seyde Sir Gawayne, ‘for they foure have no peerys.’
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night:
      Some are become great, some atcheeues greatnesse, and some haue greatnesse thrust vppon em.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Then there came a reg'lar terror of a sou'wester same as you don't get one summer in a thousand, and blowed the shanty flat and ripped about half of the weir poles out of the sand. We spent consider'ble money getting ’em reset, and then a swordfish got into the pound and tore the nets all to slathers, right in the middle of the squiteague season.
    • 2010, John Baron, The Guardian, 3 Dec 2010:
      We've literally had dozens of your photographs submitted this week – keep ’em coming!

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