Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[see-mee] /ˈsi mi/
adjective, seamier, seamiest.
unpleasant or sordid; low; disagreeable:
the seamy side of life.
having, showing, or of the nature of a seam.
1595-1605; seam + -y1; in transferred senses alluding to the unpresentable appearance of the inside of a garment, i.e., where the seams show
Related forms
seaminess, noun
1. squalid, rough, coarse, nasty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for seamy
  • Still, he does not gloss over the seamy side of his episodes.
  • The seamy trade-offs necessary for growth and stability are denounced by zealots, delegitimizing the political process.
  • The seamy underbelly of the process is that it is messy.
  • There is one supermarket, however, that does not capitulate to this seamy practice.
  • It forced a spotlight onto the country's graft troubles, which tie in to a seamy underworld.
  • And it glaringly reveals the shockingly seamy trade that uses people callously and wastefully.
  • We can admire stunning play, but the seamy side of this is that brilliant moves need errors on the part of the opponent.
  • seamy rock will usually break irregularly because it has no major points of natural weakness.
  • And, while many citizens might prefer to forget these unfortunate episodes, the seamy side of the state must not go unexamined.
  • You'll see so much of the seamy side of life that your spirit can get injured.
British Dictionary definitions for seamy


adjective seamier, seamiest
showing the least pleasant aspect; sordid
(esp of the inner side of a garment) showing many seams
Derived Forms
seaminess, noun
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 seamy

c.1600, "least pleasant, worst," in figurative phrase seamy side, from seam + -y (2); the seamy side of a sewn garment being the less attractive, and thus typically turned in. The popularity of the figurative sense likely is due to its use by Shakespeare in "Othello" IV.ii.146: "Some such Squire he was That turn'd your wits the seamy-side without, And made you to suspect me with the Moore."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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