• synonyms


or sel·vedge

  1. the edge of woven fabric finished so as to prevent raveling, often in a narrow tape effect, different from the body of the fabric.
  2. any similar strip or part of surplus material, as at the side of wallpaper.
  3. Also called margin. Philately. the surplus paper or margin around a sheet of stamps: The number of the plate block appears in the selvage.
  4. a plate or surface through which a bolt of a lock passes.
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Origin of selvage

1425–75; late Middle English, respelling of self + edge, modeled on Middle Dutch selfegghe (Dutch zelfegge)
Related formssel·vaged, adjective
Can be confusedsalvage selvage
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for selvedge

Historical Examples of selvedge

  • 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.

  • From one selvedge cut a strip 2½ inches wide, lengthwise of the piece.

British Dictionary definitions for selvedge



  1. the finished nonfraying edge of a length of woven fabric
  2. a similar strip of material allowed in fabricating a metal or plastic article, used esp for handling components during manufacture
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Derived Formsselvaged, adjective

Word Origin for selvage

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

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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper