9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[teem] /tim/
verb (used without object)
to abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile (usually followed by with).
Obsolete. to be or become pregnant; bring forth young.
verb (used with object)
Obsolete. to produce (offspring).
Origin of teem1
before 900; Middle English temen, Old English tēman, tīeman to produce (offspring), derivative of tēam team
Related forms
teemer, noun
1. overflow, brim, overrun, bristle.


[teem] /tim/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to empty or pour out; discharge.
1250-1300; Middle English temen < Old Norse tæma to empty, derivative of tōmr empty, cognate with Old English tōm free from Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for teemed
  • The oceans, especially the newly formed shallow interior seas, teemed with diverse and abundant life.
  • The sidewalks teemed with anxious office workers who fled or were ordered to leave their buildings.
  • The sanitary engineer's mind teemed with disturbing images.
  • The citizens of the jury disbanded, and the doctors and police officers departed, but still the brothel teemed with spectators.
  • The sidewalks teemed with scurrying runners, clutching comparison slips in their hands.
  • The planet's shores teemed with millions of manatees, seals, and walrus.
  • Some lakes that once teemed with fish were found to contain none at all.
  • Locals recall a time when the ocean teemed with bait, fish, birds and whales.
  • It was beautiful and teemed with all kinds of wildlife.
  • The forests teemed with game, wood was plentiful, and animals could graze in the woods and mountain pastures.
British Dictionary definitions for teemed


(intransitive) usually foll by with. to be prolific or abundant (in); abound (in)
(obsolete) to bring forth (young)
Word Origin
Old English tēman to produce offspring; related to West Saxon tīeman; see team


(intransitive; often foll by down or with rain) to pour in torrents: it's teeming down
(transitive) to pour or empty out
Derived Forms
teemer, noun
Word Origin
C15 temen to empty, from Old Norse tœma; related to Old English tōm, Old High German zuomīg empty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for teemed



"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.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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