See also: seám


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


Etymology 1Edit

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

Alternative formsEdit


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 termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

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 3Edit

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, p. 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 4Edit

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

Alternative formsEdit


seam (uncountable)

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


Further readingEdit


Old EnglishEdit


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



sēam m (nominative plural sēamas)

  1. seam


Derived termsEdit


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