American Dictionary of the English Language

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STEM, noun [G., stock, stem race. The primary sense is to set, to fix.]

1. The principal body of a tree, shrub or plant of any kind; the main stock; the firm part which supports the branches.

After thy are shot up thirty feet in length, they spread a very large top, having no bough or twig on the stem

The lowring spring with lavish rain, beats down the slender stem and bearded grain.

2. The peduncle of the fructification, or the pedicle of a flower; that which supports the flower or the fruit of a planet.

3. The stock of a family; a race or generation of progenitors; as a noble stem

Learn well their lineage and their ancient stem

4. Progeny; branch of a family.

Of that victorious stock.

5. In a ship, a circular piece of timber, to which the two sides of a ship are united at the fore end. The lower end of it is scarfed to the keel, and the bowsprit rests upon its upper end. From stem to stern, is from one end of the ship to the other, or through the whole length.

STEM, verb transitive

1. To oppose or resist, as a current; or to make progress against a current. We say, the ship was not able with all her sails to stem the tide.

They stem the flood with their erected breasts.

2. To stop; to check; as a stream or moving force.

At length Erasmus, that great injurd name, stemmd the wild torrent of a barbrous age, and drove those holy Vandals off the stage.