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  Dictionary Definition of stems

stem [1]
noun, verb, stemmed, stemming.

-- noun
1. the ascending axis of a plant, whether above or below ground, which ordinarily grows in an opposite direction to the root or descending axis.
2. the stalk which supports a leaf, flower, or fruit.
3. the main body of that portion of a tree, shrub, or other plant which is above ground; a trunk; a stalk.
4. a petiole; a peduncle; a pedicel.
5. a stalk of bananas.
6. something resembling or suggesting the stem of a plant, flower, etc.
7. a long, slender part: the stem of a tobacco pipe.
8. the slender, upright part of a goblet, wineglass, etc.
9. the cylindrical projection on a watch, having a knob at the end for winding.
10. the circular rod of some locks about which the key fits and rotates.
11. the stock, or line of descent, of a family; ancestry or pedigree.
12. Grammar the element common to all the forms of an inflectional paradigm, or to some subset thereof, usually more than a root. Thus ten- or tan- would be the root of Latin tendere and tend- would be the stem.
13. Music the vertical line forming part of a note.
14. the main or relatively thick stroke of a letter in printing, etc.
-- verb (t)
15. to remove the stem from (a fruit, etc.).
-- phrase
16. stem from, to originate.
[ME; OE stemn, akin to G Stamm ]
-- stemless, adjective