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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English wem, wemme, from Old English wamm (stain, spot, scar, disgrace, defect, defilement, sin, evil, crime, injury, loss, hurt, misfortune), from Proto-Germanic *wammaz (stain, spot), from Proto-Indo-European *wemh₁- (to spew, vomit). Cognate with Icelandic vamm (loss, damage), Latin vomō (vomit, verb) (English vomit), Ancient Greek ἐμέω (eméō, I spew) (English emesis), Lithuanian vemti (to vomit), Sanskrit वमति (vamati, to vomit)

Alternative formsEdit


wem (plural wems)

  1. (Britain dialectal) A spot, stain, or mark; (by extension) a (moral) blemish or fault.
    • 1822, sir Walter Scott (bart [novels, collected]), Historical romances of the author of Waverley, page 513:
      "It is even so," he added, as he gazed on the Sub-Prior with astonishment; "neither wem nor wound — not so much as a rent in his frock!"
    • 1936, Blanche Mary Kelly, The Well of English
      [] but it is a perfect illustration of the vision which haunted Blake all his days,—the vision of Paradise, an earthly Paradise in which there is neither wem nor wrinkle, which basks in the radiance of its own innocence.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (Britain dialectal) Neglect; damage.

Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English wemmen, from Old English wemman (to defile, besmirch, profane, injure, ill-treat, destroy, abuse, revile), from Proto-Germanic *wammijaną (to stain), from Proto-Indo-European *wem- (to spew, vomit).


wem (third-person singular simple present wems, present participle wemming, simple past and past participle wemmed)

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  1. (transitive, Britain dialectal) To injure or disfigure; blemish; mark; scar.
  2. (transitive, Britain dialectal) To defile; pollute; corrupt; vitiate.
  3. (transitive, Britain dialectal) To violate (one's word).

Derived termsEdit






  1. (interrogative) dative of wer, (to) whom (indirect object).

Further readingEdit

  • wem in Duden online