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tailor1

[tey-ler]
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noun
  1. a person whose occupation is the making, mending, or altering of clothes, especially suits, coats, and other outer garments.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make by tailor's work.
  2. to fashion or adapt to a particular taste, purpose, need, etc.: to tailor one's actions to those of another.
  3. to fit or furnish with clothing.
  4. Chiefly U.S. Military. to make (a uniform) to order; cut (a ready-made uniform) so as to cause to fit more snugly; taper.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to do the work of a tailor.
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Origin of tailor1

1250–1300; Middle English (noun) < Anglo-French tailour, Old French tailleor, equivalent to taill(ier) to cut (< Late Latin tāliāre, derivative of Latin tālea a cutting, literally, heel-piece; see tally) + -or -or2

tailor2

[tey-ler]
noun British Dialect.
  1. a stroke of a bell indicating someone's death; knell.
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Origin of tailor2

alteration by folk etymology of teller
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

conformfitmodifyaccommodateadaptalterdressmakeroutfitterclothiercostumiercouturierconvertcutreconciledovetailquadratestyleshapefashionsquare

Examples from the Web for tailor

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Yea, like a woman, who deems a man safest when he is a tailor, or a perfumer.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • He has the soul of a merchant tailor, actually, but not the tailor's manhood.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Hart Schaffner and Marx had not yet become rural America's tailor.

    Dust

    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • A suit of this kind should be as irreproachable in fit and finish as a tailor can make it.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • He had been a tailor in his time, and had kept a phaeton, he said.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for tailor

tailor

noun
  1. a person who makes, repairs, or alters outer garments, esp menswearRelated adjective: sartorial
  2. a voracious and active marine food fish, Pomatomus saltator, of Australia with scissor-like teeth
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verb
  1. to cut or style (material, clothes, etc) to satisfy certain requirements
  2. (tr) to adapt so as to make suitable for something specifiche tailored his speech to suit a younger audience
  3. (intr) to follow the occupation of a tailor
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Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-Norman taillour, from Old French taillier to cut, from Latin tālea a cutting; related to Greek talis girl of marriageable age
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 tailor

n.

late 13c., from Anglo-French tailour, Old French tailleor "tailor," literally "a cutter," from tailler "to cut," from Medieval Latin taliator vestium "a cutter of clothes," from Late Latin taliare "to split," from Latin talea "a slender stick, rod, staff, a cutting, twig," on the notion of a piece of a plant cut for grafting.

Possible cognates include Sanskrit talah "wine palm," Old Lithuanian talokas "a young girl," Greek talis "a marriageable girl" (for sense, cf. slip of a girl, twiggy), Etruscan Tholna, name of the goddess of youth.

Although historically the tailor is the cutter, in the trade the 'tailor' is the man who sews or makes up what the 'cutter' has shaped. [OED]

Tailor-made first recorded 1832 (in a figurative sense); originally "heavy and plain," as of women's garments made by a tailor rather than a dress-maker.

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v.

1660s, from tailor (n.). Figurative sense of "to design (something) to suit needs" is attested from 1942. Related: Tailored; tailoring.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper