At first, I believed seamster is a word offered to resolve a male person who sews garments and also seamstress is used to address a female sewage system. But there are various explanations online. FineDictionary and MW define seamster as a gender-neutral noun.

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If these descriptions are correct, what is the male variation of seamstress? Can someone throw light on this topic?



Seamtension is the term that is still used:

a woman who have the right to sew and make apparel or whose job is sewing and also making clothing. (OLD)

It derives from seamster, which is gender-neutral yet also quite rare ( see Ngram ):

seamanxiety (n.):

1640s, via -ess + seamster (likewise sempster), from Old seamestre "sewer, tailor, perchild whose work is sewing," from seam. Originally indicating a woguy, however after a while the fem. ending -estre no longer was felt as such and also a brand-new one added.



Michael Quinion, Ologies and Isms: Word Beginnings and Endings (2002), part of the Oxford Paperago Reference series, has actually this say around the sufsolve -ster:

-ster A person or point connected with a an task or high quality. Old -estre, -istre, and so on.

Early examples described a womale engaged in an occupation, such as brewster, maltster, and also spinster, this last originally "a woman that spins" (the finishing was the feminine tantamount of words ending in -ere, which later on became -er; . It has lengthy been extfinished to tasks undertaken by men such as chorister or teamster. Words in which it refers to a characteristic of the perboy include youngster and also the US-derived oldster, as well as hipster (a perkid who is hip, that follows the latest patterns and fashions). Less regularly, the finishing describes objects, roadster being a rare example.

It regularly has a derogatory sense: tipster, rhymester, prankster. Many type of of these are more common in the US than in Britain: gamester, gangster, huckster, jokester, mobster, punster, trickster. Such terms continue to be developed , aacquire most frequently in the US: popster, hypester, soulster, scamster.

Master comes from Old mæg(i)ster, yet derives from Latin magister (view also -MEISTER; others that derive from from Latin words with the very same ending incorporate minister and barrister (developed from bar in imitation of minister), as carry out nouns finishing in -ASTER (such as poetaster). In words such as boaster, jester, broadcaster, and protester the sufsettle is -er ... on a stem finishing in st.

Joseph Shipley, Dictionary of Word Origins (1945) supplies a similar discussion of -ster in his enattempt for spinster, although he alludes to the create sempster, quite than seamster:

spinster. Obviously, one that spins. But it is the suffix that has actually the story. Originally, it was feminine just, and also was used in occupations when brought on by women—since taken over by men, and also the words lost, though some of them re maintained as names, e.g., Baxter, from bakester, of which the masculine given name was Baker. As guys did the occupational, some of the words had actually a second feminine sufresolve added, to indicate women: sempster, wfor this reason sempstress; songster, whence songsteress. Applied to men, the sufdeal with commonly suggests inferiority (rhymester) or other bad traits (punster, gangster, trickster); this is even more noticeable in the LL. develop of the sufsolve (which is initially the combicountry of Sansk. —as— —tar); poetaster. (Minister, magistrate, are created with the Sansk. comparative suffixes —yans— —tara; cp. month: May.)

Merriam-Webster"s Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) confirms the gist of Quinion"s (and Shipley"s) evaluation as it applies to seamster:

seamster n ME semester, semster, fr. OE sēamestre, seamtension, tailor, fr. sēam, seam (bef. 12c) : a perboy employed in sewing; esp: TAILOR.

The Eleventh Collegiate also has actually an entry for seamstress:

seamstress n (1598): a woguy whose occupation is sewing.

The upswarm of these discussions is that seamster/sempster was itself originally a gender-specific term, the sex being female, and that as soon as the term began to lose its sex specificity, it was feminized a second time to seamstress when a womale was intfinished. This left seamster/sempster, by default, as a neutral or vaguely male term—yet note that the term did not change to seamer, on the pattern of brewster (to brewer) or bakester (to baker). Therefore, one can argue that etymologically seamster is actually a less gender-specific term than, say, brewer or baker.

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However before, such an discussion stops working to acexpertise the effect that the existence of seamstress/sempstress has on the situation. Because a plainly female-particular term exists, the alternate term takes on a masculine implication that it objectively doesn"t have actually. Similarly, although guys and also women have the right to be actors or poets, the existence of actress and also poetess as female-particular terms means a maleness to the unfeminized term that, objectively, isn"t tbelow. But unprefer actor/actress and also poet/poetess, seamster/seamstress and sempster/sempstress are pairs in which the emphatically female-certain form is much more widespread than the the neutral or quasi-male-particular develop, as this Ngram chart of seamster (blue line) versus seamstress (red line) versus sempster (green line) versus sempstress (yellow line) for the duration 1720–2008 provides clear:


In the modern-day human being, it is tough to view why the sex of the person pursuing an occupation have to be pertinent to the create of the word usage to characterize him or her as a perboy engaged in that occupation. But provided that the female-certain seamstress dominates the area of usage in the seamster/seamstress/sempster/sempstress bundle of terms, seamster appears quite poorly positioned to allude the method to a gender-neutral future. In the long term, I think, it is even more likely that the entire group of seamster/seamstress/sempster/sempstress terms will gradually drop out of usage in favor of gender-neutral usage of tailor. Nevertheless, as the Ngram chart over suggests, seamstress has actually actually come to be substantially even more regular in the Google Books database over the past 50 years, and it is not impossible that female-particular seamstress and also gender-neutral or quasi-male-specific seamster will certainly reprimary in usage inabsolutely.