At first, I believed seamster is a word provided to address a male human being who sews clothes and also seamstress is provided to attend to a woman sewer. Yet there are different explanations online. FineDictionary and also MW explain seamster together a gender-neutral noun.

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If these descriptions room correct, what is the male version of seamstress? can someone litter light top top this topic?



Seamstress is the term that is still used:

a woman who can sew and also make garments or whose project is sewing and making clothes. (OLD)

It derives indigenous seamster, which is gender-neutral but also quite rare ( watch Ngram ):

seamstress (n.):

1640s, through -ess + seamster (also sempster), indigenous Old seamestre "sewer, tailor, human being whose work is sewing," from seam. Originally describe a woman, yet after a if the fem. Finishing -estre no much longer was felt together such and a brand-new one added.



Michael Quinion, Ologies and also Isms: native Beginnings and also Endings (2002), part of the Oxford Paperback referral series, has this say about the suffix -ster:

-ster A person or thing connected with a an activity or quality. Old -estre, -istre, etc.

Early examples referred come a woman engaged in one occupation, such together brewster, maltster, and also spinster, this last initially "a woman who spins" (the finishing was the feminine tantamount of words finishing in -ere, i m sorry later came to be -er; . It has actually long been prolonged to activities undertaken by males such together chorister or teamster. Native in which it describes a characteristics of the person incorporate youngster and also the US-derived oldster, and hipster (a human being who is hip, who follows the recent trends and also fashions). Less often, the ending refers come objects, roadster gift a rarely example.

It frequently has a derogatory sense: tipster, rhymester, prankster. Many of this are more common in the us than in Britain: gamester, gangster, huckster, jokester, mobster, punster, trickster. Together terms proceed to be formed , again most frequently in the US: popster, hypester, soulster, scamster.

Master originates from Old mæg(i)ster, yet derives from Latin magister (see also -MEISTER; others the derive native from Latin words through the very same ending include minister and barrister (formed from bar in imitation the minister), as carry out nouns ending in -ASTER (such together poetaster). In native such together boaster, jester, broadcaster, and also protester the suffix is -er ... ~ above a stem finishing in st.

Joseph Shipley, Dictionary of indigenous Origins (1945) supplies a comparable discussion the -ster in his entry because that spinster, although that alludes come the form sempster, fairly than seamster:

spinster. Obviously, one the spins. However it is the suffix that has actually the story. Originally, it to be feminine only, and was applied in occupations once lugged on through women—since taken end by men, and the indigenous lost, though few of them re maintained as names, e.g., Baxter, native bakester, of i m sorry the masculine provided name to be Baker. As men did the work, some of the words had actually a 2nd feminine suffix added, to indicate women: sempster, whence sempstress; songster, whence songsteress. Applied to men, the suffix usually shows inferiority (rhymester) or other poor traits (punster, gangster, trickster); this is even an ext apparent in the LL. Type of the suffix (which is initially the combination 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 the Quinion"s (and Shipley"s) evaluation as it applies to seamster:

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

The Eleventh Collegiate also has one entry for seamstress:

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

The upshot of this discussions is that seamster/sempster was itself initially a gender-specific term, the sex being female, and also that once the term started to lose its sex specificity, it to be feminized a 2nd time come seamstress when a woman was intended. This left seamster/sempster, by default, together a neutral or vaguely masculine term—but keep in mind that the term walk not change to seamer, ~ above the sample of brewster (to brewer) or bakester (to baker). Thus, one can argue that etymologically seamster is actually a much less gender-specific hatchet than, say, brewer or baker.

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However, such an discussion fails to identify the impact that the visibility of seamstress/sempstress has on the situation. Due to the fact that a clearly female-specific term exists, the different term takes on a mrs implication that it objectively doesn"t have. Similarly, back men and also women deserve to be actors or poets, the presence of actress and poetess together female-specific terms means a maleness to the unfeminized ax that, objectively, isn"t there. But unlike actor/actress and also poet/poetess, seamster/seamstress and sempster/sempstress room pairs in i beg your pardon the emphatically female-specific form is far much more common 보다 the the neutral or quasi-male-specific form, as this Ngram graph of seamster (blue line) versus seamstress (red line) versus sempster (green line) matches sempstress (yellow line) because that the duration 1720–2008 makes clear:


In the modern world, the is difficult to watch why the sex of the human pursuing one occupation need to be appropriate to the form of words use to characterize the or her together a person involved in the occupation. Yet given the the female-specific seamstress constrain the field of intake in the seamster/seamstress/sempster/sempstress bundle of terms, seamster seems rather poorly positioned to suggest the means to a gender-neutral future. In the long term, i think, it is more likely that the entire group that seamster/seamstress/sempster/sempstress terms will gradually drop out of use in donate of gender-neutral usage of tailor. Nevertheless, together the Ngram chart over indicates, seamstress has actually become considerably much more frequent in the Google books database end the previous 50 years, and also it is not impossible that female-specific seamstress and also gender-neutral or quasi-male-specific seamster will stay in use indefinitely.