General English


  • noun a subsidiary plant stalk, branching out from the main stalk or attaching a leaf, flower or fruit

Information & Library Science

  • verb to search a database by inputting only the stem of a word with indicators before or afterwards to show that extra letters may be attached

Media Studies

  • noun an upright stroke, especially the main one, in a letter or character


  • noun a thin piece of tissue which attaches an organ or growth to the main tissue


  • noun a vertical main part of a printed letter
  • noun the main part of a piece of metal type


  • noun a knife, particularly when carried or used for criminal purposes. An item of New york street slang that spread to other English-speaking areas in the early 1990s.


  • acronym forscanning transmission electron microscope
    (written as STEM)
  • acronym forscanning transmission electron microscopy
    (written as STEM)
  • An electron microscope which combines the three-dimensional imaging of a scanning electron microscope, and the higher resolution of a transmission electron microscope. Its abbreviation is STEM.
  • The use of scanning transmission electron microscopes to study and analyze samples. Its acronym is STEM.

Origin & History of “stem”

The stem (OE) of a tree is etymologically the upright part, the part that ‘stands’ up. The word comes from prehistoric Germanic *stamniz, a derivative of the base *sta- ‘stand’ (which also produced English stand). The application to the ‘front of a vessel’ (as in from stem to stern) comes from the notion of an ‘upright beam’ at the prow (and originally the stern also) of a boat, which dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period. Stem ‘stop’ (13th c.) was borrowed from Old Norse stemma, a descendant of prehistoric Germanic *stamjan. this was formed from the base *stam- ‘stop, check’, which also produced English stammer and stumble.