Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Teem

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is teem. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To teem with something is to be full of that thing, or to have much of that thing inside.

// The river teems with fish.

// The students’ minds were teeming with ideas.

TEEM in Context

“Emily Wells’ orchestral pop teems with grandly despairing gestures—synth tones as thick and black as crude oil, woodwinds like fluttering wings in the upper reaches of a condemned building.” — Jayson Greene, Pitchfork, 21 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

Teem and team are not just homophones, they are also etymological kin. Teem comes from Old English tīman or tǣman, which originally meant “to bring forth offspring” or “to give birth to.” That word is related to the ancestor of team, the Old English noun tēam, meaning “offspring, lineage, or group of draft animals.” Team can still be used to refer to a brood of young animals, especially pigs or ducks, but both teem and team have otherwise largely left their offspring-related senses behind.

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