verb (used without object)
- to utter a sound representing a hesitation or pause in speech.
- a sound or pause of hesitation.Compare hem2(def 3).
- (used as a word of command to a horse or other draft animal, usually directing it to turn to the left.)
verb (used with or without object)
- to turn or make a turn to the left: The horse refused to haw.
- the round or oval fruit (a pome) of the hawthorn, usually red or yellow, containing one to five seeds
- another name for hawthorn
- an inarticulate utterance, as of hesitation, embarrassment, etc; hem
- (intr) to make this sound
- hem and haw or hum and haw See hem 2 (def. 3)
- archaic a yard or close
- the nictitating membrane of a horse or other domestic animal
“hesitate in speech,” 1580s, imitative. Related: Hawed; hawing. The noun in this sense is from c.1600. Haw-haw “style of affected enunciation” is from 1841, imitative.
“enclosure,” Old English haga “enclosure, hedge,” from Proto-Germanic *hag- (cf. Old Norse hagi, Old Saxon hago, German Hag “hedge;” Middle Dutch hage, Dutch haag, as in the city name The Hague). See hag and hedge. Meaning “fruit of the hawthorn bush” (Old English) is perhaps short for *hægberie.
see hem and haw.