[ adjective tey-ler-meyd; noun tey-ler-meyd, -meyd ]
/ adjective ˈteɪ lərˈmeɪd; noun ˈteɪ lərˌmeɪd, -ˈmeɪd /
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custom-made; made-to-order; made-to-measure: an expensive tailor-made suit.
fashioned to a particular taste, purpose, demand, etc.: a musical comedy tailor-made for the popular audience.
something, as a garment, that is tailor-made.
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Origin of tailor-made

First recorded in 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does tailor-made mean?

Tailor-made means made to fit the needs or specifications of a particular situation, object, or person—or seeming as though it was made that way.

In its most literal sense, tailor-made is used to describe a piece of clothing made by a tailor, especially a suit. A tailor-made garment like this is made specifically to the measurements of the person that it’s for so that it fits them perfectly. This means that it’s one of a kind, as opposed to clothes that are produced in general sizes (often described as ready-to-wear or off-the-rack).

But describing something as tailor-made doesn’t necessarily mean it was made by a tailor. Things other than clothing can be tailor-made. In many cases, it’s simply another way of saying it was custom-made—made to unique specifications.

Sometimes, the term is used to describe something as seemingly a perfect fit for a person or a situation, even though that thing has not been made specifically for them or even made at all, as in Today’s weather is tailor-made for this hike.

Tailor-made can also be used as the past tense of the verb tailor-make, meaning to make in a way that fits a specific situation, as in They didn’t have the replacement part I needed, so I tailor-made one. 

Less commonly, tailor-made can be used as a noun referring to a tailor-made item, as in Here is my collection of tailor-mades. 

Example: Each student will follow a tailor-made curriculum that’s designed to meet their individual needs.

Where does tailor-made come from?

The first records of the term tailor-made come from the 1800s. The ending -made is used in the same way in handmade (meaning “made by hand”) and machine-made (meaning “made by a machine”).

Tailors are associated with their skill in making garments that fit perfectly, and the verb tailor can mean to adjust things to fit a specific situation. If your suit is tailor-made, it should fit perfectly or exactly the way you want it to fit. Even when tailor-made is used in a more general way, it still describes things that fit perfectly, whether they fit a situation, an object, or a person.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to tailor-made?

What are some synonyms for tailor-made?

What are some words that share a root or word element with tailor-made

What are some words that often get used in discussing tailor-made?

How is tailor-made used in real life?

Tailor-made is usually used as another way of saying custom-made.



Try using tailor-made!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of tailormade?

A. custom-made
B. made-to-order
C. factory-made
D. made-to-measure

How to use tailor-made in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tailor-made


made by a tailor to fit exactlya tailor-made suit
perfectly meeting a particular purposea girl tailor-made for him
a tailor-made garment
slang a cigarette made in a factory rather than rolled by hand
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