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A flat seam in fabric


Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English sēam, from Proto-Germanic *saumaz (that which is sewn). Cognate with West Frisian seam, Dutch zoom, German Saum, Swedish söm.


seam (plural seams)

  1. (sewing) A folded back and stitched piece of fabric; especially, the stitching that joins two or more pieces of fabric.
  2. A suture.
  3. A thin stratum, especially of coal or mineral.
  4. (cricket) The stitched equatorial seam of a cricket ball; the sideways movement of a ball when it bounces on the seam.
  5. An old English measure of grain, containing eight bushels.
  6. An old English measure of glass, containing twenty-four weys of five pounds, or 120 pounds.
    • 1952: As white glass was 6s. the 'seam', containing 24 'weys' (pise, or pondera) of 5 lb., and 2 1/2 lb. was reckoned sufficient to make one foot of glazing, the cost of glass would be 1 1/2d. leaving 2 1/2d. for labour. — L. F. Salzman|, Building in England, p. 175.
  7. (construction) A joint formed by mating two separate sections of materials.
    Seams can be made or sealed in a variety of ways, including adhesive bonding, hot-air welding, solvent welding, using adhesive tapes, sealant, etc.
  8. A line or depression left by a cut or wound; a scar; a cicatrix.
  9. (figuratively) A line of junction; a joint.
    • Addison
      Precepts should be so finely wrought together [] that no coarse seam may discover where they join.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Derived terms[edit]


seam (third-person singular simple present seams, present participle seaming, simple past and past participle seamed)

  1. To put together with a seam.
  2. To make the appearance of a seam in, as in knitting a stocking; hence, to knit with a certain stitch, like that in such knitting.
  3. To mark with a seam or line; to scar.
    • Alexander Pope
      Seamed o'er with wounds which his own sabre gave.
  4. To crack open along a seam.
    • L. Wallace
      Later their lips began to parch and seam.
  5. (cricket) Of the ball, to move sideways after bouncing on the seam.
  6. (cricket) Of a bowler, to make the ball move thus.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Skeleton in Armor:
    Thus, seamed with many scars, / Bursting these prison bars, / Up to its native stars / My soul ascended!

Etymology 2[edit]

See saim.


seam (plural seams)

  1. (UK, dialect, obsolete) grease; tallow; lard
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)