dis·​sem·​i·​nate di-ˈse-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce disseminate (audio)
disseminated; disseminating

transitive verb

: to spread abroad as though sowing seed
disseminate ideas
: to disperse throughout
disseminator noun

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web The tour's objective is not only to disseminate the book’s ideas but also to expose people to Tang herself. Will Henshall, TIME, 20 May 2024 Further, the court added, there had been no allegations that the researchers violated restrictions against publicly disseminating the information. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for disseminate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disseminate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of disseminate was in 1566

Dictionary Entries Near disseminate

Cite this Entry

“Disseminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disseminate. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​sem·​i·​nate dis-ˈem-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce disseminate (audio)
disseminated; disseminating
: to spread around as if sowing seed
disseminate ideas
dissemination noun
disseminator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disseminate

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