English edit

A graffiti reading Make 'em pay in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From earlier hem, from Middle English hem, from Old English heom (them, dative) of hie,[1] originally a dative plural form but in Middle English coming to serve as an accusative plural as well. Cognate with Dutch hun (them), German ihnen (them).

Now often treated as a form of them, which however derives from Old Norse rather than Old English.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: əm, IPA(key): /əm/, [əm], [m̩], [ɪm], [ɛm]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əm, -ɪm, -ɛm

Pronoun edit


  1. (now colloquial) Them (now only in unstressed position following a consonant).
    • c. 1601–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene v], page 264, column 1:
      Some are become great, ſome atcheeues greatneſſe, and ſome haue greatneſſe thruſt vppon em.
    • 1699, Robert Barret, A Companion for Midwives, Child-Bearing Women, and Nurses., London, Preface:
      We cannot reasonably ſuppoſe that Adam, who was ſo univerſally Skill'd in the Natures of all Plants, ſhould have been ignorant of their Vulnerary Qualities: Or that he would not employ this his Skill in endeavouring to cure Wounds, or Hurts, when any of his new-planted Stock had the Misfortune te receive 'em.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter I, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC, page 6:
      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.
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect, Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, PC, scene: Chora's Den, Citadel:
      Harkin: I spent twenty years working cases here on the Citadel. People on this station love to talk. Secrets are like herpes. If you got 'em, you might as well spread 'em around.
    • 2010 December 3, John Baron, The Guardian:
      We've literally had dozens of your photographs submitted this week – keep ’em coming!
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:'em.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ 'em”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.

Anagrams edit