(noun, interjection)


1. (onomatopoeia) the sound of a quiet cough or of clearing one's throat

2. an exclamation or cough to get attention

- Ahem! Could we please get started?

3. an exclamation of disapproval or annoyance

- Ahem! In case you didn't notice, I did my share, too.

4. an exclamation to indicate sarcasm

- I really (ahem!) liked the chocolate broccoli surprise.


1. the utterance of a sound similar to clearing the throat; intended to get attention, express hesitancy, fill a pause, hide embarrassment, warn a friend, etc.

Similar word(s): hem

Definition categories: communication, utterance, vocalization