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See also: seám


a flat seam in fabric (sense 1)
seams of coal (sense 3)
solderless seam (sense 5)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English seem, seme, from Old English sēam (seam), from Proto-West Germanic *saum, from Proto-Germanic *saumaz (that which is sewn).

Alternative forms[edit]


seam (plural seams)

  1. (sewing) A folded-back and stitched piece of fabric; especially, the stitching that joins two or more pieces of fabric.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […]  Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
  2. A suture.
  3. (geology) A thin stratum, especially of an economically viable material such as 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. (construction, nautical) 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.
  6. A line or depression left by a cut or wound; a scar; a cicatrix.
  7. (figurative) A line of junction; a joint.
    • 1697, Joseph Addison, Essay on Virgil's Georgics:
      Precepts should be so finely wrought together [] that no coarse seam may discover where they join.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From the noun seam.


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

  1. To put together with a seam.
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Skeleton in Armor:
      Thus, seamed with many scars, / Bursting these prison bars, / Up to its native stars / My soul ascended!
  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.
  4. To crack open along a seam.
    • 1880, Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ:
      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.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old English sēam (a burden), from Latin sagma (saddle).


seam (plural seams)

  1. (historical) An old English measure of grain, containing eight bushels.
  2. (historical) An old English measure of glass, containing twenty-four weys of five pounds, or 120 pounds.
    • 1952, L. F. Salzman, Building in England, page 175:
      As white glass was 6s. the 'seam', containing 24 'weys' (pise, or pondera) of 5 lb., and 2½ lb. was reckoned sufficient to make one foot of glazing, the cost of glass would be 1½d. leaving 2½d. for labour.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English seym (grease), from Old French saim (fat). Compare French saindoux (lard).

Alternative forms[edit]


seam (uncountable)

  1. (UK, dialect, obsolete) Grease; tallow; lard.


Further reading[edit]


Old English[edit]


Inherited from Proto-West Germanic *saum, from Proto-Germanic *saumaz.



sēam m (nominative plural sēamas)

  1. seam


Derived terms[edit]


  • Middle English: seem, ceem, ceme, sem, seme, seyme
    • English: seam
    • Scots: seam