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 Astros released Jon Singleton on Monday night, disseminating a 20-word statement to complete a cataclysmic fall for the power-hitting left handed first baseman once considered the organization's best prospect. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros part ways with Jon Singleton," 22 May 2018 Cyberspace knows no borders, and Russia has used the latest digital means to disseminate fake news to sow distrust and fear of government and specific groups in Europe's open societies. The Christian Science Monitor, "Can NATO use truth against Russian lies?," 5 July 2018 It’s easier to obtain personal information about reporters — like their home addresses — and disseminate it. Anna Orso, Philly.com, "Following Annapolis shooting, journalists contemplate angry readers, death threats and backlash," 29 June 2018 Rather than waiting months for a record company to release their music, drill groups are quickly writing songs that directly threaten specific people or groups and disseminating them on YouTube. New York Times, "Amid London’s Crime Surge, Authorities Take Aim at ‘Drill,’ a Bleak Style of Rap Music," 1 June 2018 Montag's eyes are opened, however, by his encounter with Clarisse (Sofia Boutella), who arouses his conscience, introducing him to books and an underground society devoted to disseminating them. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Fahrenheit 451' doesn't catch fire with HBO adaptation," 18 May 2018 The reporters took down his words and then disseminated them across the Internet and in newsprint. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "How Alabama coach Nick Saban uses the media to talk to his team," 19 Apr. 2018 He is charged only with retaining classified information, not disseminating it. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Former CIA Agent Arrested for Mishandling Classified Information," 17 Jan. 2018 The invention of an official language for the land of Armenia meant that religious tenets could be disseminated as never before. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Unfurling the Rich Tapestry of Armenian Culture," 25 June 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

3 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for disseminate

The first known use of disseminate was in 1566

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English Language Learners Definition of disseminate

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

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