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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for seamstress
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As a slave, she had been brought up a seamstress, and was quite intelligent.

    The Underground Railroad William Still
  • The seamstress's answer, slow and matter-of-fact, was worse than her emotion.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • In the heart of the seamstress doubt and fear were being slowly knit into dread of the first sound to pass her husband's lips.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • The policeman cast his not unkindly look over the figure of the seamstress.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • seamstress, attendant on the young ladies, keeper of the stores; only "Nurse" was still her name.

    Mary Barton Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • Tears rolled down the seamstress's cheeks; she could not answer.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
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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