Definition of seam in English:



  • 1A line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article.

    • ‘Cut two pieces of terry cloth, each as wide as the chair, plus 1-inch seam allowances.’
    • ‘Sew the shoulder seams and press open, then set in the sleeves.’
    • ‘When practical, sew in sleeves before sewing the side seams and sleeve seams.’
    • ‘The inside seams do not create any discomfort or cause itching.’
    • ‘Pin the sleeve and its lining together at the underarm seam down at your wrist.’
    • ‘They were made of fine gauze and silks and their seams showed no wear.’
    • ‘Baste the seams, leaving the center back seam open about 8 inches.’
    • ‘Stitch a shoulder seam from the pin to the end of the fabric.’
    • ‘Sew the border strips to the long edges and press the seams toward the inner border.’
    • ‘He turned to the foreman and said, ‘The patterns of the side seams on these coats do not match.’’
    • ‘To bind a neckline, sew only one sweater shoulder seam before adding the binding.’
    • ‘Eliminate the center back seam on the vest upper and lower back sections.’
    • ‘The top of the underarm seam is where the design should match when cutting the bodice and sleeves.’
    • ‘Stitch the side seams and hem the lower edge.’
    • ‘The flapper dress echoed the flattened forms and straight seams of the Japanese kimono.’
    • ‘Sew buttons at the garment neckline seam, and button the collar in place.’
    • ‘Sew to opposite long edges of the quilt top and press the seams toward the borders.’
    join, stitching, joint, junction, closure, line
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    1. 1.1 A line where the edges of two pieces of wood, wallpaper, or another material touch each other.
      ‘the task involved clamping the panels into position and arc welding a seam to join them’
      • ‘If they are, try to use the seam roller and press the seams back into place.’
      • ‘In the 16th century it was chiefly utilitarian, covering wall seams and keeping out drafts.’
      • ‘A seam roller is a handy tool that flattens the seams between lengths of wallpaper.’
      • ‘Apply the spray to the point of runoff to as many surfaces as possible, especially joints, seams, cracks, ledges, and corners.’
      • ‘But it also can come in tongue-and-groove styles so there are virtually no seams once it is installed.’
      • ‘To hide the rough seams, I purchased raw wood moulding from the lumberyard and finished it to match the aged look of the Arquati frame.’
      • ‘The sheets are nailed together at the seams.’
      • ‘As with any liner system, it is important to use as few seams as possible.’
      • ‘Of these, the most important advantage is extremely thin weld seams.’
    2. 1.2 A long thin indentation or scar.
      ‘the track cleaves a seam through corn’
      • ‘This more recent house on the Izu Peninsula marks a temporary break with mining the fertile seams of Toyko's quixotic urban geology.’
      furrow, crease, corrugation, fold, groove, crinkle, pucker, line, ridge, wrinkle, crow's foot, scar
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  • 2An underground layer of a mineral such as coal or gold.

    ‘the buried forests became seams of coal’
    • ‘Free-standing crystals and two-dimensional sprays in thin seams can be found.’
    • ‘There in the bottom of the brook was a seam of amethyst crystals that averaged perhaps to be one half inch thick and a inch long.’
    • ‘There was a coal seam on his property, a V-shaped trench behind the old homesite where the farm family had dug out chunks for home use.’
    • ‘Mine operators deferred new mines in recent years because future reserves tend to be in deeper, thinner seams.’
    • ‘And they are beginning to mine it as a thick seam of pure gold.’
    • ‘A seam of coal about two feet thick was discovered, but underlying this seam of coal was a seam of clay approximately four feet thick.’
    layer, stratum, vein, lode, deposit
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    1. 2.1 A supply of something valuable.
      ‘Sunderland have a rich seam of experienced players’
      • ‘On his mother's side of the family, Ian found a further rich seam of history.’
      • ‘But there is now a seam of talent in reserve that gets the manager's blood racing.’
    2. 2.2 A trace or presence of something.
      ‘there is a seam of despondency in Stipe's words’
      • ‘Each president had a seam of fatalism, but neither acted as if he lacked the power to shape the course of the conflict.’
      • ‘But Australia has always had a seam of prim respectability running alongside its man o' the people stuff.’


  • 1Join with a seam.

    ‘it can be used for seaming garments’
    • ‘When straight-stitch seaming, gently stretch the fabric in front of and behind the presser foot as you sew.’
    • ‘On the other hand, for more fashion conscious women there are seamed nylon stockings of thinner varieties, which enhance the beauty of your legs.’
    • ‘At the bottom the gunwale board was seamed to the next board with tread seam and further down with rivet nails of iron.’
    • ‘For patterns with straight front or back seaming, add extra-wide seam allowances to the pattern pieces to support embroidery.’
    • ‘A low back and side seaming tailor the leotard while complementing natural curves.’
    • ‘All the seams are finished by serging then seaming as she instructs in her patterns.’
    • ‘Perfect for traveling due to its wrinkle resistance, tussah is appropriate for garments where shaping is produced by seaming, rather than gathering or pleating.’
    • ‘Many joined shopkeepers in wearing period costumes, including authentic make up and seamed stockings.’
    • ‘Avoid patterns with darts and princess seaming.’
    • ‘Constructed of two rectangles of fabric, generally of linen, the chiton was seamed together in a number of variations.’
    • ‘The fabric was just wide enough to wrap around the body and was seamed up one side to form a tube.’
    • ‘Lots of girls we talked to said they liked the look of seamed mesh convertible tights.’
    • ‘Before cutting, review faux fur seaming options and note whether seam allowances will require adjustment.’
  • 2usually as adjective seamedMake a long, narrow indentation in.

    ‘men in middle age have seamed faces’
    • ‘His face was seamed with wrinkles, and he generally dressed as if he were an unmade bed.’
    • ‘He was a stocky, dark, hard-countenanced man who had never bothered to have removed the scar that seamed his brow.’
    • ‘They were moving away from the sea, over flat farmlands seamed with stony riverbeds.’
    • ‘She was painfully thin and her face was seamed with many fine lines.’


  • bursting (or bulging) at the seams

    • informal (of a place or building) full to overflowing.

      ‘because the hotel was bursting at the seams everyone had to double up’
      • ‘Here was a gritty, kinetic world opening before them - a complex verbal jazz of messy humanity, boogying in a justice system bursting at the seams.’
      • ‘Certainly, the recent recession has had a serious impact here, but the concert calendar is still bursting at the seams.’
      • ‘The dot-com frenzy was at its peak and the capital markets were so flush with cash that they were practically bursting at the seams.’
      • ‘He was bursting at the seams with strength and oomph.’
      • ‘The movie as a whole feels rushed, bursting at the seams with seemingly unnecessary subplots and tangential characters.’
      • ‘And they're bursting at the seams with some of the problems that I talked about earlier - this notion of reallocating storage and the backup problems.’
      • ‘The film opens with screeching modem noise, and the frame skitters out of space early on, suggesting that the movie is bursting at the seams with electric energy.’
      • ‘The chosen venue was a trendy tapas joint, which was bursting at the seams with the usual assortment of black-clad denizens.’
      • ‘The death of his father and the birth of his son are the framing events for a canvas bursting at the seams with drama and allegory, visual detail and theatrical elaboration.’
      • ‘This album's bursting at the seams with electro flava.’
      crowded, filled, packed, teeming, seething, swarming, crawling, crammed, thronged, bursting at the seams, solid, overflowing, choked, jammed, congested
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  • come (or fall) apart at the seams

    • informal (of a person or system) be in a very poor condition and near to collapse.

      ‘the attitude of the airport guard was symptomatic of a system falling apart at the seams’
      • ‘Journalists from all the broadsheets declared that the figures didn't bear up to close scrutiny, fell apart at the seams, and were a ‘swamp of muddled thinking’.’
      • ‘I am coming apart at the seams at least that's what it feels like.’
      • ‘Arafat came out unscathed, but the fragile relationship between Israel and the Palestinians fell apart at the seams.’
      • ‘Tonight… he literally fell apart at the seams and let me pick up the pieces.’
      • ‘I just feel like we are falling apart at the seams I really don't want that to happen.’
      • ‘But his first-class form fell apart at the seams last summer and he had lost his place in the side by mid-August.’
      • ‘Ireland put it under pressure and it fell apart at the seams.’
      • ‘I feel as though I am falling apart at the seams.’


Old English sēam, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zoom and German Saum.