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[tey-ler-ing] /ˈteɪ lər ɪŋ/
the business or work of a tailor.
the skill or craftsmanship of a tailor.
Origin of tailoring
1655-65; tailor1 + -ing1


[tey-ler] /ˈteɪ lər/
a person whose occupation is the making, mending, or altering of clothes, especially suits, coats, and other outer garments.
verb (used with object)
to make by tailor's work.
to fashion or adapt to a particular taste, purpose, need, etc.:
to tailor one's actions to those of another.
to fit or furnish with clothing.
Chiefly U.S. Military. to make (a uniform) to order; cut (a ready-made uniform) so as to cause to fit more snugly; taper.
verb (used without object)
to do the work of a tailor.
1250-1300; Middle English (noun) < Anglo-French tailour, Old French tailleor, equivalent to taill(ier) to cut (< Late Latin tāliāre, derivative of Latin tālea a cutting, literally, heel-piece; see tally) + -or -or2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tailoring
  • The important thing in tailoring education to an individual's brain is to let the individual do the tailoring.
  • So the standard advice about tailoring application letters, while well-intentioned, turns out to be almost impossible to follow.
  • Again as the previous poster noted, that means tailoring the message and it's difficult to do that without knowing one's audience.
  • Sure, the hot foreign spies, the perfect martinis and the miraculous tailoring are all part of the draw.
  • Suddenly, the good tailoring doesn't seem to connote so much honor.
  • She was tailoring a dress for her and touched her stomach.
  • But you have an industry that's tailoring characters to the people they want to play them.
  • Their ill-cut clothes are in dull blue, brown and green, the hallmarks of planned-economy tailoring.
  • It can do this by tailoring capital requirements to the credit cycle.
  • At their bleakest, diplomats worry that a huge job has fallen onto a mid-sized politician, who is now tailoring the job to fit.
British Dictionary definitions for tailoring


a person who makes, repairs, or alters outer garments, esp menswear related adjective sartorial
a voracious and active marine food fish, Pomatomus saltator, of Australia with scissor-like teeth
to cut or style (material, clothes, etc) to satisfy certain requirements
(transitive) to adapt so as to make suitable for something specific: he tailored his speech to suit a younger audience
(intransitive) to follow the occupation of a tailor
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman taillour, from Old French taillier to cut, from Latin tālea a cutting; related to Greek talis girl of marriageable age
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 tailoring



late 13c., from Anglo-French tailour, Old French tailleor "tailor," literally "a cutter," from tailler "to cut," from Medieval Latin taliator vestium "a cutter of clothes," from Late Latin taliare "to split," from Latin talea "a slender stick, rod, staff, a cutting, twig," on the notion of a piece of a plant cut for grafting.

Possible cognates include Sanskrit talah "wine palm," Old Lithuanian talokas "a young girl," Greek talis "a marriageable girl" (for sense, cf. slip of a girl, twiggy), Etruscan Tholna, name of the goddess of youth.

Although historically the tailor is the cutter, in the trade the 'tailor' is the man who sews or makes up what the 'cutter' has shaped. [OED]
Tailor-made first recorded 1832 (in a figurative sense); originally "heavy and plain," as of women's garments made by a tailor rather than a dress-maker.


1660s, from tailor (n.). Figurative sense of "to design (something) to suit needs" is attested from 1942. Related: Tailored; tailoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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