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ahem

[pronounced with a small scraping sound accompanied or followed by a nasal; spelling pronunciation uh-hem, hem] /pronounced with a small scraping sound accompanied or followed by a nasal; spelling pronunciation əˈhɛm, hɛm/
interjection
1.
(an utterance similar to the sound of clearing one's throat, used to attract attention, express doubt or a mild warning, etc.)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for ahem
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He would throw half a dozen fits, right now, if he knew you were––ahem!

  • Was not that—ahem—Lady Knightsbridge, to whom I saw you speaking, sir?

    The Christmas Books William Makepeace Thackeray
  • ahem, Miss Nellie, when we go back home, will you promise me to say nothing about this part of your lesson?

    A Waif of the Mountains Edward S. Ellis
  • He got the pigskin and skinned down the field like a blue streak, and—but, ahem!

    Dave Porter and His Rivals Edward Stratemeyer
  • "I scarcely recognised you in that—ahem—that costume," he added, smiling sarcastically.

    The Missing Prince G. E. Farrow
British Dictionary definitions for ahem

ahem

/əˈhɛm/
interjection
1.
a clearing of the throat, used to attract attention, express doubt, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ahem

attention-getting interjection, 1763, lengthened from hem, imitative of clearing the throat.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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9
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