Word Confusion: Team versus Teem

Posted October 12, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Seeing as how some writers can be teaming with ideas…hmmm, actually that would be a good thing. To join together with ideas as a team and see what comes of it… I suppose it’s all in the context, as I would more commonly expect a writer to be teeming with ideas, having lots and lots of ideas.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Team Teem
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: team and teem; Word Reference.com

A Swedish football team group portrait on the grass in an empty stadium

“Victoria Rosport UI-Cup Squad 2005” by Marc Wengler is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 de license, via Wikimedia Commons

A Swedish football team.

A busy, busy rainy day bustling with people in a crowded street market

“Afghan Market Teeming with Vendors and Shoppers”, 4 February 2009, by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika with the US Army National Guard is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: teams
Past tense or past participle: teamed
Gerund or present participle: teaming

Verb, intransitive 1, 2 & transitive

Third person present verb: teems
Past tense or past participle: teemed
Gerund or present participle: teeming

Of, relating to, or performed by a team

Treated as singular or plural

A group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport

  • Two or more people working together
  • [Informal] Used before another word to form the name of a real or notional group that supports or favors the person or thing indicated
  • Two or more animals, especially horses, harnessed together to pull a vehicle

[Agriculture] Two or more horses or other animals harnessed together to draw a vehicle, plow, etc.

A family of young animals, especially ducks or pigs

[Obsolete] Offspring or progeny

  • Lineage or stock
  • Race of descendants

Verb, intransitive:
[team up, team together, etc.] Come together as a team, a band, or a cooperative effort to achieve a common goal

To drive a team

Verb, transitive:
[Usually team something with] Match or coordinate a garment with another

Harness animals, especially horses, together to pull a vehicle

To join together in a team

[Chiefly Northern U.S.; older use] To convey or transport by means of a team

  • Haul
Verb, intransitive:
Be full of or swarming with 1

[Of water, especially rain] Pour down 2

  • Fall heavily

[Usually followed by with] To abound or swarm

  • Be prolific or fertile

[Obsolete] To be or become pregnant

  • Bring forth young

To empty or pour out

  • Discharge

Verb, transitive:
[Obsolete] To produce offspring

To empty or pour out

  • Discharge
Basketball is a team sport.

Let’s make this a team effort.

The Green Bay Packers is a football team in Wisconsin.

They’ve got enough kids to put together their own baseball team.

They’ve pulled together a team of researchers to work on XYZ.

Are you team Mac or team PC?

We’re totally Team Jenna and support Camp CARE.

Check out the Team GB website for information about the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team.

I took one for the team by naming myself the designated driver.

Have you seen Whitworth’s matched team yet?

Harvey’s bullock team is hauling wool in New South Wales.

The collective nouns for more than one duck range from badelynge, brace, bunch, flock, paddling, raft, and team. I rather like paddling and raft…a raft of ducks paddled by…

“I am in love; but a team of horse shall not pluck that from me, nor who ’tis I love.” – Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Verb, intransitive:
He teamed up with the band to produce the album.
He teamed them together on the project.

Verb, transitive:
No, I think the gray pinstripe suit teamed with a crisp white shirt would be a better choice.

The horses are teamed in pairs.

The two teamed up to work on the new budget.

Verb, intransitive:
Every garden is teeming with wildlife.

She walked briskly through the teeming streets.

With the rain teeming down at the manor, Italy seemed a long way off.

The pond teemed with tadpoles.

It’s teeming down.

“In like manner, his physiognomical expression seemed to teem with benignity.” – Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

Verb, transitive:
“Liza, teem a short pint intil this lang Robbie,” said Matthew.” – Hall Caine, The Shadow of a Crime

Adjective: interteam, underteamed, unteamed
Noun: teammate, teamster, teamwork
Adjective: teemful, teeming, teemless
Adverb: teemingly
Noun: teemer, teemingness
Phrasal Verb
teem with someone
teem with something
History of the Word:
Before 900, the Old English tēam meaning child-bearing, brood, offspring, or set of draft beasts, and cognate with the Dutch toom meaning bridle, reins, the German Zaum, and the Old Norse, and evolved into the Middle English teme as a nominal noun.

Old English tēam meaning team of draft animals is of Germanic origin and related to the German Zaum meaning bridle and is from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin ducere meaning to lead.

1 Old English tēman, tīeman is of Germanic origin and related to team. The original senses included give birth to, also be or become pregnant, which gare rise to be full of in the late 16th century.

2 Middle English from the Old Norse tœma meaning to empty, from tómr meaning empty. The original sense was to empty, specifically to drain liquid from, pour liquid out.

The current sense (originally dialect) dates from the early 19th century.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Swiss National Football Team by R. Niemeyer is under the GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons. Love by Gattou – Lucie Provencher is under the CC BY-SA license, via VisualHunt.

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