dis·​sem·​i·​nate | \di-ˈse-mə-ˌnāt \
disseminated; disseminating

Definition of disseminate 

transitive verb

1 : to spread abroad as though sowing seed disseminate ideas

2 : to disperse throughout

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Other Words from disseminate

dissemination \di-​ˌse-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun
disseminator \-​ˈse-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for disseminate


broadcast, circulate, propagate, spread

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Disseminating Information on Disseminate

While the object of the verb disseminate may be something tangible, such as an infectious agent, nowadays the thing most often disseminated, or "spread abroad as though sowing seed," is information. Where does this metaphorical verb come from? In Latin, the dis- prefix signifies separation or dispersal, while the -sem- element springs from semen "seed." The same Latin noun is found in a number of other English words with figurative meanings: seminary (which now is a training facility for priests, but initially was a place where seeds were raised to plants), seminal (meaning "containing the seeds of later development"), and yes, the word semen.

Examples of disseminate in a Sentence

He told me that as Commanding General [General David Petraeus] he believes he should not only direct battlefield action but also disseminate a few easy-to-grasp concepts about the war's prosecution, which subordinate officers can then interpret on their own. — Steve Coll, New Yorker, 8 Sept. 2008 Jefferson helped found and back a friendly newspaper, the National Gazette, to help disseminate his views. — Walter Kim, Time, 5 July 2004 In this case, the filmmakers did not prevent information from being disseminated. And they have no greater moral obligation than do the highly paid Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather to help a TV network keep down its costs. — Randy Cohen, New York Times Magazine, 7 Oct. 2001 Although possession of virus software and source code is not illegal, many of the existing state and federal computer intrusion and unauthorized access laws already make it illegal to introduce a virus into someone's system intentionally. Robert Morris's conviction … shows how the existing laws might be used to punish those involved with disseminating viruses. — Edward A. Cavazos et al., Cyberspace And The Law, 1994 The Internet allows us to disseminate information faster. The findings were widely disseminated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The shooting Saturday was the second act of hatred in recent days to expose the way social-media services can be platforms for dangerous people to disseminate threats and intolerance that publicly foreshadow their violence. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "Gab.com Founder Defends Site After Shooting," 28 Oct. 2018 Indeed there is little about the black experience in the information the group disseminates. Shaun Assael, Glamour, "The Secret Fight to Save Confederate Monuments," 16 Aug. 2018 Right-wing outlets (and the president) gleefully pounced on the mistake, those who had disseminated the photos dutifully corrected the record, and everyone moved on. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Draconian Immigration Policies Highlight Obama’s Missteps," 20 June 2018 Virtually overnight, the social media giant provided a way to accelerate the spread of incendiary conspiracies and anti-Muslim vitriol that Buddhist nationalists previously disseminated through pamphlets or CDs. Laignee Barron, Time, "Could Facebook Have Helped Stop the Spread of Hate in Myanmar?," 6 Apr. 2018 The Northern California fires, closest to the cities of Sacramento and Chico, don’t pose a risk to most popular tourist destinations beyond the poor air quality that has disseminated to nearby hubs like Napa and San Francisco. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "California Fires: What to Know If You're Visiting California This Week," 21 Nov. 2018 Atkeson says some campaigns take this too far, though, disseminating false information and making racist claims, like those being documented in the 2018 midterms on this list from HuffPost’s Julia Craven. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "How Campaign Ads Use Fear to Force Voters to React," 26 Oct. 2018 The exhibit traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "KC's rich African-American history needs to be celebrated year-round," 15 June 2018 Those preparations probably include plotting future terrorist operations and honing a system for persevering and disseminating the group's core ideas after the Islamic State ceases to exist as a caliphate. Joby Warrick And Souad Mekhennet, chicagotribune.com, "Clues suggest ISIS leader is still alive — and busy with a chilling new mission," 19 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disseminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disseminate

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disseminate

Latin disseminatus, past participle of disseminare, from dis- + seminare to sow, from semin-, semen seed — more at semen

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Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for disseminate

The first known use of disseminate was in 1566

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More Definitions for disseminate



English Language Learners Definition of disseminate

: to cause (something, such as information) to go to many people

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Comments on disseminate

What made you want to look up disseminate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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