Share this entry

seam Line breaks: seam

Definition of seam in English:


1A line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article.
Example sentences
  • He turned to the foreman and said, ‘The patterns of the side seams on these coats do not match.’
  • The flapper dress echoed the flattened forms and straight seams of the Japanese kimono.
  • Cut two pieces of terry cloth, each as wide as the chair, plus 1-inch seam allowances.
join, stitching, joint, junction, closure, line;
Surgery suture
1.1A 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
More example sentences
  • Apply the spray to the point of runoff to as many surfaces as possible, especially joints, seams, cracks, ledges, and corners.
  • 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.
  • A seam roller is a handy tool that flattens the seams between lengths of wallpaper.
1.2A long thin indentation or scar: the track cleaves a seam through corn
More example sentences
  • This more recent house on the Izu Peninsula marks a temporary break with mining the fertile seams of Toyko's quixotic urban geology.
2An underground layer of a mineral such as coal or gold: the buried forests became seams of coal
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
2.1A supply of something valuable: Sunderland have a rich seam of experienced players
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.2A trace or presence of something: there is a seam of despondency in Stipe’s words
More example sentences
  • But Australia has always had a seam of prim respectability running alongside its man o' the people stuff.
  • Each president had a seam of fatalism, but neither acted as if he lacked the power to shape the course of the conflict.


Back to top  
1Join with a seam: it can be used for seaming garments
More example sentences
  • When straight-stitch seaming, gently stretch the fabric in front of and behind the presser foot as you sew.
  • Perfect for traveling due to its wrinkle resistance, tussah is appropriate for garments where shaping is produced by seaming, rather than gathering or pleating.
  • Before cutting, review faux fur seaming options and note whether seam allowances will require adjustment.
2 (usually as adjective seamed) Make a long, narrow indentation in: men in middle age have seamed faces
More example sentences
  • He was a stocky, dark, hard-countenanced man who had never bothered to have removed the scar that seamed his brow.
  • His face was seamed with wrinkles, and he generally dressed as if he were an unmade bed.
  • They were moving away from the sea, over flat farmlands seamed with stony riverbeds.


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


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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The chosen venue was a trendy tapas joint, which was bursting at the seams with the usual assortment of black-clad denizens.
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • 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’.
  • Arafat came out unscathed, but the fragile relationship between Israel and the Palestinians fell apart at the seams.
  • Ireland put it under pressure and it fell apart at the seams.

Words that rhyme with seam

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seem, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

Definition of seam in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...