The Meaning of Inseam: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of inseam? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word inseam, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word inseam mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word inseam refers to the measurement from the inside of the leg from the crotch to the ankle on a pair of pants or trousers. Inseam is two syllables – in-seam, and the pronunciation of inseam is ˈɪnsiːm. It takes a bit of luck to find pants with the right inseam. Different competitors or specific companies in the market dominion today might measure inseams differently. 

There are many different measurements that come into play when finding pants that fit, like inseam which measures the inner seam of a garment and the seam of a trouser leg as well as waist size. These can vary in every new pair of pants depending on the material like denim jeans or slacks, as well as the cut like boyfriend jeans,chain stitch jeans,  bike-style shorts or skinny jeans, the height of heel worn with the pants, if there will be a bit of shrinkage depending on the material or wash, and more. Different types of clothing have different measurements that determine the sizing like sleeve sizes, a cuff, or the type of cloth on a shirt. A stylist might measure many different things when styling someone. If she was styling a cyclist, she might measure the rider’s inseam, the height of the player or wearer, and more in order to fit jeans, casual pants, and decent dress pants. The inseam is one of many alterations tailors can do at bricks and mortar locations.

A tailor might measure the length of the inner pant leg while sitting on a stool. There are many different ways you can take your own measurements. Below are the different types of measurements you have to take for a men’s suit, for example, from Lanieri

First you need to measure your chest circumference. Make sure that you have the measuring tape beneath your armpits, in line with your nipples, and be sure to hold the tape horizontally. Make sure your arms are relaxed and that you breathe normally. The tape should be snug but not tight. You also need to measure your neck. Have the tape slightly beneath Adam’s apple, and make sure not to pull the tape measure tight. Make sure that you do not stretch your neck and don’t draw your chin downwards, and that you stand relaxed.

Next, you need to measure your shoulder width. The measurement of the width of the shoulders goes on an arch from where the left shoulder sleeve starts to the outside edge of the right shoulder. The tape should follow the natural curve of your back, and should touch the most prominent bone below your neck. Next is arm length. Make sure that your arms are relaxed. You should measure the arms in two different sections. First, start from where the souder measuring ends and measure to the elbow. Then measure from the elbow to just below the wrist bone, with the tape hugging the shape of your arm.

Next are bicep and wrist circumference. Measure the circumference around each of your left and right biceps and wrists and use the larger measurement of the two so that the suit is not too tight. You would rather have it be a little loose. Next is back length. Tilt your chin down slightly. Measure your back length from the most prominent bone below your neck, to the back of your crotch, or about a centimeter above your butt. You could also measure the center back seam of a jacket that fits you well already. For your stomach circumference, make sure that you do not hold your breath or suck in. You don’t want to have to be sucking in or holding your breath the entire time you are wearing your suit. Keep the tape measure horizontal while you measure this.

Four fingers below your belly button, measure your waistline with the tape measure horizontal. It is best not to wear trousers during this measurement so that they don’t interfere with the measurement. Do the same thing for your hip measurement which is measured at the widest point of your butt. You also need to take the circumference of your thighs at the largest point, typically just below your crotch. Submit the largest value of the two and ensure to keep the tape measure horizontal.

Next, you need to determine if you have a high, regular, or low shoulder type. Determine if you have a chiselled, regular, or robust chest type. Determine if you have a flat, regular, or protruding stomach type. Determine if you have a straight, regular, or curved back type. Determine if you have a flat, regular, or protruding rear. Finally, determine if you would like the suit to fit comfort, regular, or slim.

The best way to get a suit that fits is to get the most accurate measurements, and purchase a suit from a place that will have a tailor custom fit it just to you. While it may be tempting to cheat on your measurements, do not. Having the right measurements will ensure that the suit fits you the best. Having a suit that is too big or too small will not look as good and will also be very uncomfortable. 

Overall, the word inseam means the inside seam of an article of clothing from the crotch of a trouser leg to the bottom of the cuff. This is commonly taken by tailors.


  1. Inseam definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. How to take men’s body measurements for tailored clothing: read the guide | Lanieri