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[see-muh n] /ˈsi mən/
noun, plural seamen.
a person skilled in seamanship.
a person whose trade or occupation is assisting in the handling, sailing, and navigating of a ship during a voyage, especially one below the rank of officer; sailor.
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. an enlisted person ranking below petty officer.
Origin of seaman
before 900; Middle English seeman, Old English sǣmann. See sea, man1
Related forms
superseaman, noun, plural superseamen.
See sailor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for seamen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • seamen have always been somewhat of a class apart, though they are less so now.

    All Afloat William Wood
  • The lines were caught by the seamen on board, and made fast.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • A record of merchant seamen kept by the registrar-general of seamen.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • They had none, but some of the seamen supplied them with all they had about them.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • We then saw three seamen, whom by their dress we took to be Hollanders.

  • One of these, by his dress, was seen to be a seamen, and the rest were blacks.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for seamen


noun (pl) -men
a rating trained in seamanship as opposed to electrical engineering, etc
a man who serves as a sailor
a person skilled in seamanship
Derived Forms
seaman-like, adjective
seamanly, adjective, adverb
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 seamen



"a sailor," Old English sæmanna (plural); see sea + man (n.). Cf. Dutch zeeman, German Seemann, Old Norse sjomaðr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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