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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for seamen
  • Too late for surviving merchant seamen who lost forty years of health benefits, education, or insurance benefits.
  • Rogue waves have been the stuff of seamen's lore for centuries.
  • They are maintained not by sailors but by master merchant seamen-that is, by private contractors.
  • The officials would have multiplied at the same rate had there been no actual seamen at all.
  • Navies are also starting to deploy seamen on merchant ships, something hitherto rare unless the cargo was military.
  • Punch began as a sailors' drink, where everyone onboard-officers and ordinary seamen alike-would partake together.
  • For thousands of years, seamen have been known to throw oil overboard to calm stormy seas.
  • The migrants board rickety boats in the dark, taking orders from inexperienced seamen.
  • Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and remittances from seamen on merchant ships abroad.
  • But the seamen were not gentlemen, and the gentlemen were not seamen.
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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