The Alternative English Dictionary: 'em

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Entry definition

'em etymology From earlier hem, from Middle English hem, from Old English heom of hie, originally a dative plural form but in Middle English coming to serve as an accusative plural as well. Cognate with Dutch hun, German ihnen. pronunciation
  • {{enPR}}, /əm/, /m̩/, /ɪm/
  • {{audio}}
pronoun: {{en-pron}}
  1. (now colloquial) Them (typically after a preposition, or otherwise with accusative or dative force; now only in unstressed position).
    • {{RQ:Mlry MrtDrthr}}: Truly said sire Ector I can not here of hym nor of syr Galahad / Percyuale nor syr Bors / lete hem be sayd syre Gawayne / for they foure haue no pyeres
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night: Some are become great, some atcheeues greatnesse, and some haue greatnesse thrust vppon em.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln , [ Mr. Pratt's Patients], 1 , “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!
  • me, ME, Me.

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