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[seem-stris or, esp. British, sem-] /ˈsim strɪs or, esp. British, ˈsɛm-/
a woman whose occupation is sewing.
Also, sempstress.
Origin of seamstress
First recorded in 1605-15; seamst(e)r + -ess
Usage note
See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for seamstress
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That's the seamstress who was mentioned to me by a small tenant of mine?

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • The supposed Evremonde descends, and the seamstress is lifted out next after him.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • She did not yet know whether she was present as a seamstress or as a guest.

    In Apple-Blossom Time

    Clara Louise Burnham
  • Lucy Watson, the girl whom you met in the hall just now—is my seamstress.

    Evenings at Donaldson Manor Maria J. McIntosh
  • She was a seamstress and a widow with one little daughter, Nettie.

  • The lingerie was of the best, and the seamstress was engaged on it for many weeks.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
British Dictionary definitions for seamstress


a woman who sews and makes clothes, esp professionally
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 seamstress

1640s, with -ess + seamster (also sempster), from Old English seamestre "sewer, tailor, person whose work is sewing," from seam. Originally indicating a woman, but after a while the fem. ending -estre no longer was felt as such and a new one added.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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