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adjective sem·i·nal \ˈse-mə-nəl\

Simple Definition of seminal

  • : having a strong influence on ideas, works, events, etc., that come later : very important and influential

  • medical : of or containing semen

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of seminal

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen

  2. 2 :  containing or contributing the seeds of later development :  creative, original <a seminal book>

seminally play \-nəl-ē\ adverb

Examples of seminal in a sentence

  1. Kandel was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2000 for his seminal observation that it was in the action of the synapses between cells that memory existed, not in the cells themselves, and that a molecule called cyclic AMP was what allowed cells to retain memory over the long term. —Michael Greenberg, New York Review of Books, 4 Dec. 2008

  2. Writer Susan Sontag died December 28 at age 71 after a long battle with cancer. She left behind an impressive body of fiction and criticism, including her seminal 1960s essays “Notes on Camp” and “Against Interpretation.” —Allan Gurganus, Advocate, 1 Feb. 2005

  3. I wonder if the curators who organized “Matisse Picasso” ever asked themselves why it was that Alfred H. Barr Jr., the first director of the Museum of Modern Art and the guiding spirit behind the museum's seminal exhibitions of both Picasso and Matisse, never mounted a show like the one that has now arrived at MoMA QNS. Such an exhibition might seem to be logical, almost inevitable for the Museum of Modern Art. —Jed Perl, New Republic, 3 Mar. 2003

Origin of seminal

Middle English, from Latin seminalis, from semin-, semen seed — more at semen

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with seminal

Medical Dictionary


adjective sem·i·nal \ˈsem-ən-əl\

Medical Definition of seminal

  1. :  of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen <seminal discharge>

Learn More about seminal

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