from stem to stern

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

stem 1

a. The main ascending part of a plant; a stalk or trunk.
b. A slender stalk supporting or connecting another plant part, such as a leaf or flower.
c. A banana stalk bearing several bunches of bananas.
2. A connecting or supporting part, especially:
a. The tube of a tobacco pipe.
b. The slender upright support of a wineglass or goblet.
c. The small projecting shaft with an expanded crown by which a watch is wound.
d. The rounded rod in the center of certain locks about which the key fits and is turned.
e. The shaft of a feather or hair.
f. The upright stroke of a typeface or letter.
g. Music The vertical line extending from the head of a note.
3. The main line of descent of a family.
4. Linguistics The main part of a word to which affixes are added.
5. Nautical The curved upright beam at the fore of a vessel into which the hull timbers are scarfed to form the prow.
6. The tubular glass structure mounting the filament or electrodes in an incandescent bulb or vacuum tube.
v. stemmed, stem·ming, stems
To have or take origin or descent: Her success stems mostly from hard work.
1. To remove the stem of: stemmed the apples.
2. To provide with a stem: wine glasses that are stemmed.
3. To make headway against (a tide or current, for example).
from stem to stern
From one end to another.

[Middle English, from Old English stefn, stemn; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: stem1, arise, derive, emanate, flow, issue, originate, proceed, rise, spring
These verbs mean to come forth or come into being: customs that stem from the past; misery that arose from war; rights that derive from citizenship; disapproval that emanated from the teacher; happiness that flows from their friendship; prejudice that issues from fear; a proposal that originated in the Congress; a mistake that proceeded from carelessness; rebellion that rises in the provinces; new industries that spring from technology.

stem 2

v. stemmed, stem·ming, stems
1. To stop or stanch (a flow): stemmed the bleeding.
2. To restrain or stop: wanted to stem the growth of government.
3. To plug or tamp (a blast hole, for example).
4. Sports To turn (a ski, usually the uphill ski) by moving the heel outward.
v.intr. Sports
To stem a ski or both skis, as in making a turn.

[Middle English stemmen, from Old Norse stemma.]


science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Each carried a strange banner swung from stem to stern above the upper works, and upon the prow of each was painted some odd device that gleamed in the sunlight and showed plainly even at the distance at which we were from the vessels.
No more, at least, than from stem to stern of the ship.
Suddenly, without warning, the cabin roof shot up into the air, a cloud of dense smoke puffed far above the Kincaid, there was a terrific explosion which shook the vessel from stem to stern.
The second night after the drowning of the mate the little yacht was suddenly wracked from stem to stern. About one o'clock in the morning there was a terrific impact that threw the slumbering guests and crew from berth and bunk.
To allay it, I shall today search the entire ship carefully from stem to stern.
The electric light went out suddenly, and two enormous waterspouts broke over the bridge of the frigate, rushing like a torrent from stem to stern, overthrowing men, and breaking the lashings of the spars.
Not an elk, a wolf, or any other animal, could appear on the hills, but the boats resounded with exclamations from stem to stern,"voila les Sioux!
But there was no answering sound, and a moment later I had felt from stem to stern and found the boat deserted.
Two heavy javelins, missing Dian and Juag by but a hair's breadth, had sunk deep into the bottom of the dugout in a straight line with the grain of the wood, and split her almost in two from stem to stern. She was useless.
She was a big, flat-bottomed, square-sterned craft, sloop-rigged, with a sprung mast, slack rigging, dilapidated sails, and rotten running-gear, clumsy to handle and uncertain in bringing about, and she smelled vilely of coal tar, with which strange stuff she had been smeared from stem to stern and from cabin-roof to centreboard.
For half an hour the awful suspense endured, and then with a terrific crash the vessel struck, shivering and trembling from stem to stern.
From stem to stern silence possessed the vessel--as silence possessed the sea.

Full browser ?