1. abounding or swarming with something, as with people: We elbowed our way through the teeming station.
  2. prolific or fertile.


  1. falling in torrents: a teeming rain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile (usually followed by with).
  2. Obsolete. to be or become pregnant; bring forth young.

verb (used with object)

  1. Obsolete. to produce (offspring).

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to empty or pour out; discharge.


  1. (intr usually foll by with) to be prolific or abundant (in); abound (in)
  2. obsolete to bring forth (young)


  1. (intr; often foll by down or with rain) to pour in torrentsit’s teeming down
  2. (tr) to pour or empty out

adj.“swarming,” 1715, present participle adjective from teem (v.1). v.1“abound, swarm,” Old English teman (Mercian), tieman (West Saxon) “give birth to, produce,” from Proto-Germanic *taumijanan, from PIE *deuk- “to lead” (see duke (n.)). Related to team in its now-obsolete Old English sense of “family, brood of young animals.” The meaning “be fertile, abound, swarm” is first recorded 1590s. Related: Teemed; teeming. v.2“to flow copiously,” c.1300, from Old Norse toema “to empty,” from tomr “empty,” cognate with Old English tom “empty.” The original notion is of “to empty a vessel,” thus “to pour out.” Related: Teemed; teeming.

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