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or selvedge

[sel-vij] /ˈsɛl vɪdʒ/
the edge of woven fabric finished so as to prevent raveling, often in a narrow tape effect, different from the body of the fabric.
any similar strip or part of surplus material, as at the side of wallpaper.
Also called margin. Philately. the surplus paper or margin around a sheet of stamps:
The number of the plate block appears in the selvage.
a plate or surface through which a bolt of a lock passes.
Origin of selvage
1425-75; late Middle English, respelling of self + edge, modeled on Middle Dutch selfegghe (Dutch zelfegge)
Related forms
selvaged, adjective
Can be confused
salvage, selvage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for selvedge
Historical Examples
  • What direction will the filling threads bear to the selvedge?


    William H. Dooley
  • Specimen has been cut from the body of the fabric, showing no selvedge.

  • The selvedge of this linen fabric is peculiar and somewhat elaborate.

  • Pin the widths together, selvedge to selvedge, to form seams.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • Look up these words in the dictionary: selvedge, warp, woof, pattern.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • From one selvedge cut a strip 2½ inches wide, lengthwise of the piece.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • Trim the selvedge, as it is hard to sew through and draws up when washed.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • Hem the top with a quarter-inch hem if there is no selvedge.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
  • Skilful cutting of the selvedge and new fringing will correct the error.

    The Oriental Rug William D. Ellwanger
  • When the selvedge is at the shorter end you have the pillow.

    The Oriental Rug William D. Ellwanger
British Dictionary definitions for selvedge


the finished nonfraying edge of a length of woven fabric
a similar strip of material allowed in fabricating a metal or plastic article, used esp for handling components during manufacture
Derived Forms
selvaged, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from self + edge; related to Dutch selfegghe, German Selbende
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 selvedge



mid-15c., "edge of web or cloth so finished as to prevent raveling," apparently literally "its own edge," a corruption of self + edge (n.); on analogy of Middle Flemish selvegge (cf. also Low German sulfegge; Dutch zelfkant, from kant "border;" Middle High German selbende, German Selbend, literally "self-end").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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