Use the interjection ahem when you want to get someone's attention in a low-key way. If a class is being noisy, the teacher may say, "Ahem, class. Let's turn our attention to the periodic table of the elements now."

Ahem mimics the sound of a person clearing their throat, so you can use it any time you might naturally do some throat-clearing. In addition to getting attention, saying ahem can also express disapproval, embarrassment, or hesitation. If your overhear your friends talking about you, you might say, "Ahem. I'm standing right here."

Definitions of ahem
  1. noun
    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.
    synonyms: hem
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    type of:
    utterance, vocalization
    the use of uttered sounds for auditory communication
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