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adjective, seam·i·er, seam·i·est.
  1. unpleasant or sordid; low; disagreeable: the seamy side of life.
  2. having, showing, or of the nature of a seam.
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Origin of seamy

1595–1605; seam + -y1; in transferred senses alluding to the unpresentable appearance of the inside of a garment, i.e., where the seams show
Related formsseam·i·ness, noun


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1. squalid, rough, coarse, nasty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for seamy


adjective seamier or seamiest
  1. showing the least pleasant aspect; sordid
  2. (esp of the inner side of a garment) showing many seams
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Derived Formsseaminess, noun
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

Word Origin and History for seamy


c.1600, "least pleasant, worst," in figurative phrase seamy side, from seam + -y (2); the seamy side of a sewn garment being the less attractive, and thus typically turned in. The popularity of the figurative sense likely is due to its use by Shakespeare in "Othello" IV.ii.146: "Some such Squire he was That turn'd your wits the seamy-side without, And made you to suspect me with the Moore."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper