Definition of seamy in US English:



  • Sordid and disreputable.

    ‘a seamy sex scandal’
    • ‘Yes, that's the thing that disturbs me, because there are so many people who apparently want to hear the seamy side of life about people who are in trouble.’
    • ‘But research in organizations with nonfacilitative governments highlights the value of bureaucracy and reveals the seamy side of personal relationships.’
    • ‘All the stuff about the supposedly seamy side of gaming is way off the mark.’
    • ‘The city's seamy side overpowers him, and Nell slips into a self-destructive nosedive.’
    • ‘A hopeless alcoholic living in a flophouse on the seamy side of town, he was a promising boxer chewed up and spit out by the corrupt amateur circuit.’
    • ‘But it is an exaggerated horror, itself suspect, which would make us unable to acknowledge the facts because of the seamy side of the facts.’
    • ‘What Clarice refers to as ‘the Cause’ quickly gave her an education in the seamy side of politics.’
    • ‘The set also made good use of images by the Expressionist painters Grosz and Kirchner to depict the seamy side of Berlin.’
    • ‘I have seen this world, the seamy side of it, in all places, but this stuff that we are allowing into this country, and the censor is allowing in, is absolutely disgusting.’
    • ‘To me, the deepest feeling I have about this field is that it is a bitter experience to see the seamy side of life.’
    • ‘In its depiction of a rather run-down and seamy side of New Jersey, it threatens to be taken seriously.’
    • ‘There can be a seamy side to the transfer of children.’
    • ‘More than ever our domestic media shoulders the responsibility of focusing on the seamy side of society.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, I do not see sex between consenting adults as seamy, sleazy or even necessarily steamy.’
    • ‘They represent all that we find repugnant in sport, the seamy side of their profession and are, for the most part, to be found swimming against the tide.’
    • ‘We'll dig into the seamy side of Los Angeles with the man who gave us ‘LA Confidential’ just ahead.’
    • ‘His education taught him a lot about the seamy side of life and the way in which an uncaring society could treat those who could not help themselves.’
    • ‘There was a seamy side to the Congress and its various initiatives, and Saunders exposes it.’
    • ‘The shooting death of Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, highlights the seamy side of Hollywood.’
    • ‘Anna descends into the seamy side of commercial S&M clubs to assist in the official investigation into Kathy's disappearance.’
    sordid, disreputable, seedy, sleazy, corrupt, shameful, low, dark, squalid, unwholesome, unsavoury, rough, mean, nasty, unpleasant
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Late 16th century: from seam + -y. The sense ‘disreputable’ ( early 17th century) arose from the notion of ‘having the rough edges of seams visible’.