Adjective > Teeming

Adjective – Teeming

The word “teem” comes from Old English. It first meant “to give birth to.”

When Shakespeare wrote about the “teeming wombe of royall Kings,” the meaning of “teem” started to change.

And today, “teem” means “to be full and swarming,” or “to be very productive.”

So, teeming things are full and swarming, or very productive.

Say it “TEEM ing.”

Part of speech:
Adjective: “the teeming sidewalks.”
Also a verb: “the sidewalks teem with shoppers,” “the sidewalks were teeming with shoppers.”

Other common forms:
teem, teemed

How to use it:
Most of the time, you talk about something that teems with other things, or about something that’s teeming with other things: “the shops teem with tourists,” “the shoreline is teeming with tiny pink shells,” “the poem teems with beautiful images,” “the episodes are teeming with nerdy references to science and literature.”

You can also just refer to something as teeming, if your readers will understand what it’s teeming with: “It’s Christmas Eve, and I fight my way through the teeming aisles;” “The island is home to thousands of seals, and its teeming shores are deafening.”

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

— Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus,” 1903

“It was mid-March, a time of dormancy for most plants in the region. Poplar trees, bare of any leaves, lined either side of the road. But the farm was already teeming with life.”
— Greta Moran, Salon, 10 May 2019