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[sem-uh-nl] /ˈsɛm ə nl/
pertaining to, containing, or consisting of semen.
Botany. of or relating to seed.
having possibilities of future development.
highly original and influencing the development of future events:
a seminal artist; seminal ideas.
Origin of seminal
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin sēminālis, equivalent to sēmin- (stem of sēmen) seed, semen + -ālis -al1
Related forms
seminality, noun
seminally, adverb
interseminal, adjective
preseminal, adjective
4. germinal, primary, formative, innovative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for seminal
  • The university is planning to chase that prize-and the prestige, recruitment power, and seminal research that could come with it.
  • Or if they should play at part at all in a seminal moment in a decade-long war on terror.
  • Four decades after their seminal paper, there are still no widely validated laboratory tests for any common mental illness.
  • Faraday went on to make conduct a series of seminal experiments in electromagnetism, among other contributions.
  • Prominent designers from an array of disciplines identify books that were seminal in shaping their lives and work.
  • He produced a series of learned studies of political theorists that are variously described as seminal and utterly opaque.
  • He was a truly great physicist and astronomer who had made seminal discoveries in observational cosmology.
  • It was the seminal statement of a new, unsentimental era of moviemaking.
  • Later, traces of seminal fluid would be found on the sheet.
  • In the first of a regular series of columns, the seminal designer shares his vision on the state of design and his creative drive.
British Dictionary definitions for seminal


potentially capable of development
highly original, influential, and important
rudimentary or unformed
of or relating to semen: seminal fluid
(biology) of or relating to seed
Derived Forms
seminality, noun
seminally, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin sēminālis belonging to seed, from Latin sēmen seed
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 seminal

late 14c., "of seed or semen," from Old French seminal (14c.) and directly from Latin seminalis, from semen (genitive seminis) "seed" (see semen). Figurative sense of "full of possibilities" is attested from 1630s. Related: Seminally; seminality.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seminal in Medicine

seminal sem·i·nal (sěm'ə-nəl)
Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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