stem

v.

(1) 'aim, attempt, consider' (2) 'intend, purpose, consider' (Modern English stem)

Etymology

The sense and identification of the v. stem at WA 2480 ('ʒe sult noʒt stody ne stem þe sternes for to handill') are debated. (1) Given the common collocation with stody, it is tempting to identify this v. with stemmed (v.), perhaps with a sense 'aim, attempt, consider' derived from ON, cp. OIcel stefnastemna ‘to stand in a certain direction, aim at; to give notice to one, summon; cite (a case); call together (of a meeting)’ (thus Skeat WA). (2) As TPD argue, however, an aphetic variant of ME estemen < OFr estimer would explain the form and allow for a more plausible sense in context 'intend, purpose, consider'. Input from either v. is impossible to rule out.

PGmc Ancestor

(1) *steƀnō or *staƀnjōn

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

(1) stefnastemna ‘to stand in a certain direction, aim at; to give notice to one, summon; cite (a case); call together (of a meeting)’. 
(ONP (1) stefna (2) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

(1) Far stevna, Icel stefna, Norw stemna, Dan stævne, Sw stämma

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category

DD2

Attestation

(1) Mainly from N texts; see further stemmed (v.). (2) ME estemen is attested from a range of 15c texts, but an aphetic variant isn't cited by OED until the 16c., nor is the relevant sense (6) 'purpose, aim, intend'

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

WA 2480

Bibliography

(1) see stemmed (v.); (2) MED estẹ̄men (v.) , OED esteem (v.) , steem (v.1) , HTOED , DEAF estimer (v.)