1250–1300; Middle English; see sew1, -ing1 Unabridged


1 [soh]
verb (used with object), sewed, sewn or sewed, sewing.
to join or attach by stitches.
to make, repair, etc., (a garment) by such means.
to enclose or secure with stitches: to sew flour in a bag.
to close (a hole, wound, etc.) by means of stitches (usually followed by up ).
verb (used without object), sewed, sewn or sewed, sewing.
to work with a needle and thread or with a sewing machine.
Verb phrases
sew up,
Informal. to get or have a monopoly of; control exclusively.
Informal. to complete or conclude (arrangements, negotiations, etc.) successfully: They were about to sew up the deal when the argument started.
to gain or be assured of: He tried to sew up as many votes as possible before the convention.

before 900; Middle English sewen, Old English siw(i)an; cognate with Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan, Latin suere (see suture); akin to seam

sewable, adjective, noun


2 [soo] Nautical.
verb (used with object), sewed, sewing.
to ground (a vessel) at low tide (sometimes fol by up ).
verb (used without object), sewed, sewing.
(of a vessel) to be grounded at low tide.
the amount of additional water necessary to float a grounded vessel.

1505–15; < Middle French sewer, aphetic variant of essewer < Vulgar Latin *exaquāre, equivalent to Latin ex- ex-1 + aqu(a) water + -āre infinitive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sew (səʊ)
vb , sews, sewing, sewed, sewn, sewed
1.  to join or decorate (pieces of fabric, etc) by means of a thread repeatedly passed through with a needle or similar implement
2.  (tr; often foll by on or up) to attach, fasten, or close by sewing
3.  (tr) to make (a garment, etc) by sewing
[Old English sēowan; related to Old Norse sӯja, Gothic siujan, Old High German siuwen, Latin suere to sew, Sanskrit sīvjati he sews]

sewing (ˈsəʊɪŋ)
a.  a piece of cloth, etc, that is sewn or to be sewn
 b.  (as modifier): sewing basket

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. siwian "to stitch," earlier siowian, from P.Gmc. *siwjanan (cf. O.N. syja, Swed. sy, O.H.G. siuwan, Goth. siujan "to sew"), from PIE base *siw-/*sju- "to sew" (cf. Skt. sivyati "sews," sutram "thread, string;" Gk. hymen "thin skin, membrane," hymnos "song;" L. suere "to sew, sew together;" O.C.S.
sijo "to sew," sivu "seam;" Lett. siuviu, siuti "to sew," siuvikis "tailor;" Rus. svec "tailor"). Sewing machine is attested from 1847.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
His firm has devised a solar-powered sewing machine, for example.
She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running.
She found a job sewing blue jeans in one of the dozens of clothing factories here.
One entrepreneur tried to swap his sewing machines for handsets.
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