Definition of seaman in US English:



  • 1A person who works as a sailor, especially one below the rank of officer.

    • ‘In 1808-1811, the British navy, desperate for able-bodied seamen, impressed more than six thousand Americans.’
    • ‘His last pamphlet was about the appalling conditions of British seamen.’
    • ‘Seaman officer and pilot recruiting will be next, with new advertisements being filmed now.’
    • ‘Eleven seamen were killed, others were wounded, and many were subsequently interned.’
    • ‘Smaller and less centralized, the Continental navy drew upon experienced seamen and where necessary relied on training on shipboard.’
    • ‘But the former merchant seaman is not your average bum.’
    • ‘With her she was taking 50 able-bodied seamen and 20 some foot soldiers.’
    • ‘The Hong Kong seamen's strike of 1922 was directed at foreign power.’
    • ‘And one of its own large cannons blew up, killing yet more seamen.’
    • ‘The Yorkshire man was a former merchant navy seaman.’
    • ‘The national seamen's union planned a strike for June 1911 to force the bosses to recognise the union.’
    • ‘Twenty-two seamen were killed when his ship came under fire.’
    • ‘‘Make a goal and go for it’ was a motto that stuck with the former deck seaman.’
    • ‘Clearly, this was a tough campaign for all concerned, particularly for the ordinary seamen.’
    • ‘Even before the ship had left Buenos Aires some of the British seamen objected to sailing with Greeks.’
    • ‘I bring to the Minister's attention the case of an able seaman.’
    • ‘Crew from the admiral down to ordinary seamen had no enmity towards their opposite numbers.’
    sailor, seafarer, seafaring man, mariner, boatman, hand, crew member, rating
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sailor of the lowest rank in the US Navy or Coast Guard, ranking below petty officer.
      • ‘All crew members, from captain to seaman recruit, eat the same food - but on different days.’
    2. 1.2with adjective A person regarded in terms of their ability to captain or crew a boat or ship.
      ‘he's the best seaman on the coast’
      • ‘Such an experienced seaman, still physically strong and able.’


Old English sǣman (see sea, man).