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[seed] /sid/
noun, plural seeds (especially collectively) seed.
the fertilized, matured ovule of a flowering plant, containing an embryo or rudimentary plant.
any propagative part of a plant, including tubers, bulbs, etc., especially as preserved for growing a new crop.
such parts collectively.
any similar small part or fruit.
Dialect, pit2 .
the germ or propagative source of anything:
the seeds of discord.
offspring; progeny.
not of mortal seed.
sperm; semen.
the ovum or ova of certain animals, as the lobster and the silkworm moth.
a small air bubble in a glass piece, caused by defective firing.
Crystallography, Chemistry. a small crystal added to a solution to promote crystallization.
Tennis. a player who has been seeded in a tournament.
verb (used with object)
to sow (a field, lawn, etc.) with seed.
to sow or scatter (seed).
to sow or scatter (clouds) with crystals or particles of silver iodide, solid carbon dioxide, etc., to induce precipitation.
to place, introduce, etc., especially in the hope of increase or profit:
to seed a lake with trout.
to sprinkle on (a surface, substance, etc.) in the manner of seed:
to seed an icy bridge with chemicals.
to remove the seeds from (fruit).
  1. to arrange (the drawings for positions in a tournament) so that ranking players or teams will not meet in the early rounds of play.
  2. to distribute (ranking players or teams) in this manner.
to develop or stimulate (a business, project, etc.), especially by providing operating capital.
verb (used without object)
to sow seed.
to produce or shed seed.
of or producing seed; used for seed:
a seed potato.
being or providing capital for the initial stages of a new business or other enterprise:
The research project began with seed donations from the investors.
go / run to seed,
  1. (of the flower of a plant) to pass to the stage of yielding seed.
  2. to lose vigor, power, or prosperity; deteriorate:
    He has gone to seed in the last few years.
in seed,
  1. (of certain plants) in the state of bearing ripened seeds.
  2. (of a field, a lawn, etc.) sown with seed.
Origin of seed
before 900; (noun) Middle English sede, side, seed(e), Old English sēd, sǣd; cognate with German Saat, Old Norse sāth, Gothic -seths; (v.) Middle English seden to produce seeds, derivative of the noun; akin to sow1
Related forms
seedless, adjective
seedlessness, noun
seedlike, adjective
deseed, verb (used with object)
overseed, verb
reseed, verb
underseeded, adjective
unseeded, adjective
unseeding, adjective
well-seeded, adjective
Can be confused
cede, concede, secede, seed.
recede, reseed.
7. descendants, heirs, posterity, issue, scions. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for seed
  • To protect this source of food from rodent seed predators, native ants bury the seeds.
  • seed has been designed with all sorts of hooks, barbs and sticky gels to provide a good hold on free transportation.
  • The philanthropy has made clear that its money is meant to seed future work, not cover all continuing costs.
  • seed crops must complete an entire life cycle to produce seeds.
  • Conclusion: suitable habitat-not seed dispersal-determines a species' range.
  • From being a chemical multinational, the company has transformed itself into the leading seed producer in the world.
  • These nuisances are nature's way of spreading seed around.
  • The whole thing began on a modest seed money a long long time ago and it was, if not great, pretty good.
  • Crops grown for seed have much looser restrictions than those grown for food.
  • In fact, they are the seed pods of a radish plant that has been allowed to flower and go to seed.
British Dictionary definitions for seed


(botany) a mature fertilized plant ovule, consisting of an embryo and its food store surrounded by a protective seed coat (testa) related adjective seminal
the small hard seedlike fruit of plants such as wheat
(loosely) any propagative part of a plant, such as a tuber, spore, or bulb
such parts collectively
the source, beginning, or germ of anything: the seeds of revolt
(mainly Bible) offspring or descendants: the seed of Abraham
an archaic or dialect term for sperm1 , semen
(sport) a seeded player
the egg cell or cells of the lobster and certain other animals
(chem) a small crystal added to a supersaturated solution or supercooled liquid to induce crystallization
go to seed, run to seed
  1. (of plants) to produce and shed seeds
  2. to lose vigour, usefulness, etc
to plant (seeds, grain, etc) in (soil): we seeded this field with oats
(intransitive) (of plants) to form or shed seeds
(transitive) to remove the seeds from (fruit, etc)
(transitive) (chem) to add a small crystal to (a supersaturated solution or supercooled liquid) in order to cause crystallization
(transitive) to scatter certain substances, such as silver iodide, in (clouds) in order to cause rain
  1. to arrange (the draw of a tournament) so that outstanding teams or players will not meet in the early rounds
  2. to distribute (players or teams) in this manner
Derived Forms
seedlike, adjective
seedless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sǣd; related to Old Norse sāth, Gothic sēths, Old High German sāt


Scottish Executive Education Department
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for seed

Old English sed, sæd "that which may be sown; an individual grain of seed; offspring, posterity," from Proto-Germanic *sediz "seed" (cf. Old Norse sað, Old Saxon sad, Old Frisian sed, Middle Dutch saet, Old High German sat, German Saat), from PIE *se-ti- "sowing," from root *se- (1) "to sow" (see sow (v.)). Figurative use in Old English. Meaning "offspring, progeny" rare now except in biblical use. Meaning "semen" is from c.1300. For sporting sense, see seed (v.).


late 14c., "to flower, flourish; produce seed;" mid-15c., "to sow with seed," from seed (n.). Meaning "remove the seeds from" is from 1904. Sporting (originally tennis) sense (1898) is from notion of spreading certain players' names so as to insure they will not meet early in a tournament. The noun in this sense is attested from 1924. Related: Seeded; seeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seed in Medicine

seed (sēd)

  1. A ripened plant ovule that contains an embryo.

  2. A propagative part of a plant, such as a tuber or a spore.

  3. Sperm; semen.

v. seed·ed, seed·ing, seeds
To inoculate a culture medium with microorganisms.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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seed in Science
Noun  A mature fertilized ovule of angiosperms and gymnosperms that contains an embryo and the food it will need to grow into a new plant. Seeds provide a great reproductive advantage in being able to survive for extended periods until conditions are favorable for germination and growth. The seeds of gymnosperms (such as the conifers) develop on scales of cones or similar structures, while the seeds of angiosperms are enclosed in an ovary that develops into a fruit, such as a pome or nut. The structure of seeds varies somewhat. All seeds are enclosed in a protective seed coat. In certain angiosperms the embryo is enclosed in or attached to an endosperm, a tissue that it uses as a food source either before or during germination. All angiosperm embryos also have at least one cotyledon. The first seed-bearing plants emerged at least 365 million years ago in the late Devonian Period. Many angiosperms have evolved specific fruits for dispersal of seeds by the wind, water, or animals. See more at germination, ovule.

  1. To plant seeds in soil.

  2. To initiate rainfall or to generate additional rainfall by artificially increasing the precipitation efficiency of clouds. See more at cloud seeding.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for seed



roach (1960s+ Narcotics)

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The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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seed in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with seed


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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