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[soh-ing] /ˈsoʊ ɪŋ/
the act or work of one who sews.
something sewn or to be sewn.
Origin of sewing
1250-1300; Middle English; see sew1, -ing1


[soh] /soʊ/
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,
  1. Informal. to get or have a monopoly of; control exclusively.
  2. Informal. to complete or conclude (arrangements, negotiations, etc.) successfully:
    They were about to sew up the deal when the argument started.
  3. 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
Related forms
sewable, adjective, noun


[soo] /su/ 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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sewing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Naturally enough what he tried to do was to imitate the action of the hand in sewing.

    Historic Inventions Rupert S. Holland
  • She had taken her sewing again, and she bent her head over it as if she were ashamed.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • But I don't know how I'll keep busy all the time, though I can help mother with the sewing.

    Helen Grant's Schooldays Amanda M. Douglas
  • Why, I don't earn that amount of money by six months' sewing.

  • Bobbys mother is wonderful with sewing and my mother and some other ladies from Coxton keep her supplied.

British Dictionary definitions for sewing


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


verb sews, sewing, sewed, sewn, sewed
to join or decorate (pieces of fabric, etc) by means of a thread repeatedly passed through with a needle or similar implement
(transitive; often foll by on or up) to attach, fasten, or close by sewing
(transitive) to make (a garment, etc) by sewing
See also sew up
Word Origin
Old English sēowan; related to Old Norse sӯja, Gothic siujan, Old High German siuwen, Latin suere to sew, Sanskrit sīvjati he sews
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 sewing

late 13c., "action of sewing;" c.1400, "sewn work," verbal noun from sew (v.). Sewing machine is attested from 1847.



Old English siwian "to stitch, sew, mend, patch, knit together," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (cf. Old Norse syja, Swedish sy, Danish sye, Old Frisian sia, Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan "to sew"), from PIE root *syu- "to bind, sew" (cf. Sanskrit sivyati "sews," sutram "thread, string;" Greek hymen "thin skin, membrane," hymnos "song;" Latin suere "to sew, sew together;" Old Church Slavonic šijo "to sew," šivu "seam;" Lettish siuviu, siuti "to sew," siuvikis "tailor;" Russian švec "tailor"). Related: Sewed; sewing. To sew (something) up "bring it to a conclusion" is a figurative use attested by 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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