Open main menu


Alternative formsEdit


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.


  • enPR: əm, IPA(key): /əm/, /m̩/, /ɪm/
  • (file)



  1. (now colloquial) Them (now only in unstressed position following a consonant).
    • 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, in 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 December:
      We've literally had dozens of your photographs submitted this week – keep ’em coming!

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit


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