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[seem] /sim/
the line formed by sewing together pieces of cloth, leather, or the like.
the stitches used to make such a line.
any line formed by abutting edges.
any linear indentation or mark, as a wrinkle or scar.
Knitting. a line of stitches formed by purling.
Geology. a comparatively thin stratum; a bed, as of coal.
verb (used with object)
to join with or as if with stitches; make the seam or seams of.
to furrow; mark with wrinkles, scars, etc.
Knitting. to knit with or in a seam.
verb (used without object)
to become cracked, fissured, or furrowed.
Knitting. to make a line of stitches by purling.
Origin of seam
before 1000; Middle English seme (noun), Old English sēam; cognate with German Saum hem; akin to sew1, Greek hymḗn membrane (see hymen)
Related forms
seamer, noun
underseam, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for seam
  • Beneath the helicopter's blades, the woods thicken and the terrain rises to a seam of limestone crag, dripping with trees.
  • Cut around the seam along the bottom and sides of the pocket, but leave the waistband of the jeans intact.
  • The change, he said, could have come from miners digging deeper into a coal seam.
  • Install two nails on each side of the seam formed by the boards' ends.
  • The activity shows the stress the seam is under and could be a harbinger of worse to come, scientists warn.
  • Apply caulking compound to the seam at the end of the clapboard.
  • These products include cement board siding, stone and brick, and stand and seam metal roofing.
  • Then, similar pixels on either side of the seam are fused.
  • Two weak points may be where the strap is split, and the sewn seam.
  • We descend at the back of the crack, looking out at a vertical seam of blue sky.
British Dictionary definitions for seam


the line along which pieces of fabric are joined, esp by stitching
a ridge or line made by joining two edges
a stratum of coal, ore, etc
a linear indentation, such as a wrinkle or scar
(surgery) another name for suture (sense 1b)
(modifier) (cricket) of or relating to a style of bowling in which the bowler utilizes the stitched seam round the ball in order to make it swing in flight and after touching the ground: a seam bowler
bursting at the seams, full to overflowing
(Northern English, dialect) in a good seam, doing well, esp financially
(transitive) to join or sew together by or as if by a seam
(US) to make ridges in (knitting) using purl stitch
to mark or become marked with or as if with a seam or wrinkle
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Norse saumr, Old High German soum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for seam

Old English seam "seam, suture, junction," from Proto-Germanic *saumaz (cf. Old Frisian sam "hem, seam," Old Norse saumr, Middle Dutch som, Dutch zoom, Old High German soum, German Saum "hem"), from PIE root *syu- "to sew, to bind" (cf. Old English siwian, Latin suere, Sanskrit syuman; see sew).

Chidynge and reproche ... vnsowen the semes of freendshipe in mannes herte. [Chaucer, "Parson's Tale," c.1386]
Meaning "raised band of stitching on a ball" is recorded from 1888. Geological use is from 1590s.


1580s, from seam (n.). Related: Seamed; seaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seam in Science
A thin layer or stratum, as of coal or rock.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with seam
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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