When you sew two pieces of fabric together, the line you are sewing is the seam. Coal appears in long, linear underground deposits referred to as seams.

A garment that is coming to pieces will often first tear at the seams, the weakest parts. People use this image to describe anything that has reached a point where it is simply not holding together––your car could be falling apart at the seams, or if there's been a lot of stress in your life, you could be too — and you might have to move into a seamy neighborhood.

Definitions of seam
  1. noun
    joint consisting of a line formed by joining two pieces
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    fell, felled seam
    seam made by turning under or folding together and stitching the seamed materials to avoid rough edges
    stitch, surgical seam, suture
    a seam used in surgery
    a raised or strengthened seam
    type of:
    junction by which parts or objects are joined together
  2. noun
    a slight depression in the smoothness of a surface
    synonyms: crease, crinkle, furrow, line, wrinkle
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    crow's feet, crow's foot, laugh line
    a wrinkle in the skin at the outer corner of your eyes
    the lines that form patterns on the skin (especially on the fingertips and the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet)
    frown line
    a facial wrinkle associated with frowning
    life line, lifeline, line of life
    a crease on the palm; its length is said by palmists to indicate how long you will live
    heart line, line of heart, love line, mensal line
    a crease on the palm; palmists say it indicates your emotional nature
    line of Saturn, line of destiny, line of fate
    a crease on the palm; palmists say it indicates how successful you will be
    type of:
    depression, impression, imprint
    a concavity in a surface produced by pressing
  3. noun
    a stratum of ore or coal thick enough to be mined with profit
    synonyms: bed
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    coal seam
    a seam of coal
    type of:
    one of several parallel layers of material arranged one on top of another (such as a layer of tissue or cells in an organism or a layer of sedimentary rock)
  4. verb
    put together with a seam
    seam a dress”
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    stitch, suture
    join with a suture
    type of:
    bring together, join
    cause to become joined or linked
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