dis·​sem·​i·​nate | \ di-ˈse-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce disseminate (audio) \
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

disseminator \ -​ˈse-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce disseminator (audio) \ noun

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 While the media and entertainment industries appear to be content-driven, data analysis is increasingly figuring out the why, how, and where of creating, disseminating, and reviewing that content. Quartz India, "Sudhanshu Vats on the jobs that will define India’s future," 11 Feb. 2020 The troubles sound familiar: A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Paris Martineau, Wired, "Internet Deception Is Here to Stay—So What Do We Do Now?," 30 Dec. 2019 In recent years, foreign governments have looked at the power of the internet to disseminate ideas and recoiled: Too open, too free, too challenging. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Keep the internet open and free — worldwide," 29 Dec. 2019 The Shell video provided the first images of a possible suspect, which were quickly disseminated to the media and Stallworth was identified through tips provided to Birmingham police. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Meth, sedative found in Kamille McKinney’s decomposed body, testimony shows," 10 Dec. 2019 That's part of $119 million total approved that will be disseminated in parts on a quarterly basis through next year. Emily Walkenhorst, Arkansas Online, "Corps' $26.7M part of funding to repair damage from spring's Arkansas River flood," 24 Nov. 2019 Social media has long been a crucial tool for extremist groups to disseminate their rhetoric and recruit new supporters — both on fringe right-wing platforms like 8chan and in dark corners of more mainstream networks. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Presidential contenders want social networks to do more to crack down on white nationalism," 1 Sep. 2019 Prior to disseminating the photo, an editor cropped Nakate out, leaving four white women standing in front of a scenic mountain background. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Associated Press apologizes for photo cropping mishap that sparked 'racism' accusations," 28 Jan. 2020 Nhiwatiwa pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, pandering obscenity, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and endangering children and faces a prison sentence of up to 7 1/2 years. Hannah Drown, cleveland, "See sentencing of Cleveland cop who urinated on 12-year-old girl and tried to abduct her," 21 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for disseminate

Time Traveler

The first known use of disseminate was in 1566

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Statistics for disseminate

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disseminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disseminate. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for disseminate


How to pronounce disseminate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disseminate

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

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