verb (used without object), germinated, germinating.
to begin to grow or develop.
to develop into a plant or individual, as a seed, spore, or bulb.
to put forth shoots; sprout; pullulate.
to come into existence; begin.
verb (used with object), germinated, germinating.
to cause to develop; produce.
to cause to come into existence; create.

1600–10; < Latin germinātus (past participle of germināre to sprout, bud), equivalent to germin- (see germinal) + -ātus -ate1

germinable [jur-muh-nuh-buhl] , adjective
germination, noun
germinator, noun
nongerminating, adjective
nongermination, noun
regerminate, verb, regerminated, regerminating.
regermination, noun
ungerminated, adjective
ungerminating, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
germinate (ˈdʒɜːmɪˌneɪt)
1.  to cause (seeds or spores) to sprout or (of seeds or spores) to sprout or form new tissue following increased metabolism
2.  to grow or cause to grow; develop
3.  to come or bring into existence; originate: the idea germinated with me
[C17: from Latin germināre to sprout; see germ]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1594, from L. germinationem (nom. germinatio) "sprouting forth, budding," from germinare "to sprout, put forth shoots," from germen (gen. germinis) "a sprout or bud."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
germination   (jûr'mə-nā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 

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The beginning of growth, as of a seed, spore, or bud. The germination of most seeds and spores occurs in response to warmth and water.

Our Living Language  : Dormant seeds are very dry and require the absorption of water to initiate the metabolic processes of respiration and begin to digest their stored food. Respiration requires the presence of oxygen, which must be sufficiently available in the soil for germination to proceed, so the soil must be wet but not so waterlogged as to make oxygen inaccessible. Temperatures must be above freezing (zero degrees Celsius) but not excessively hot (not more than about 45 degrees Celsius). If conditions are right, a radicle (an embryonic root) emerges from the seed coat, anchoring the seed; it then grows and puts out lateral roots. In most eudicots, a part of the developing stem, either the epicotyl (the stem above the cotyledons) or the hypocotyl (the stem below the cotyledons) elongates, forming a hook and gradually pulling the seed coat and the delicate shoot tip above the soil surface. Germination of eudicot seeds is normally divided into two types, designated epigeous and hypogeous. In epigeous germination, the cotyledons emerge above the soil surface, and wither and drop off after their food stores have been used up; in hypogeous germination, the cotyledons remain below the surface and decompose after their food stores have been used up. In most monocots, food is stored in the seed's endosperm (rather than the cotyledon), and it is the single tubular cotyledon that elongates and draws the seed coat out of the soil. The cotyledon conducts photosynthesis, making more food, while the shoot grows up inside the tube.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Planting culinary seed would not be practical, however, as it is too aged for good germination.
If things are going well, three days after sowing, my little ones should be in the early stages of germination.
To get germination off to a fast start, soak seeds in water for a few hours first.
The germination rate has been excellent for one thing with hardly any effort on my part.
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