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 disseminate (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 Since even the first shot appears to provide some protection against COVID-19, some experts believe that the shortest route to containing the virus is to disseminate the initial injections as widely as possible now. Rebecca Robbins, BostonGlobe.com, "As rollout falters, scientists debate new vaccination tactics," 3 Jan. 2021 Since even the first shot appears to provide some protection against Covid-19, some experts believe that the shortest route to containing the virus is to disseminate the initial injections as widely as possible now. New York Times, "As Rollout Falters, Scientists Debate New Vaccination Tactics," 3 Jan. 2021 In mid-November, Jacobson visited with members of the Rochester partnership via Zoom, part of the group’s initial effort to disseminate vaccine information. Quartz, "Trusted messengers may help disenfranchised communities overcome vaccine hesitancy," 18 Dec. 2020 There was too much information to disseminate, and our daily emails and constantly refreshed website were not effective ways to communicate. Shira Doron, STAT, "To defeat Covid-19, we must acknowledge the fear it engenders," 9 Dec. 2020 Decker said other procedural issues about practice and meetings were discussed because Bevell wanted the council to disseminate information to other players so the first practice of the week could get off to a good start. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions coach Darrell Bevell to players: Let’s try to get a wild-card playoff spot," 2 Dec. 2020 But to disseminate information about COVID-19 to public authorities as rapidly as possible, scientific journals are under pressure to rush the careful vetting normally required to publish new science. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "A guide to overcoming COVID-19 misinformation," 22 Oct. 2020 Giuliani has long sought to obtain and disseminate dirt on the Bidens. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Fox News passed on chance to break Hunter Biden laptop story over credibility concerns: Report," 19 Oct. 2020 Researchers have made increasing use of preprint databases during the coronavirus pandemic to disseminate information to clinicians quickly. Joseph Walker, WSJ, "WHO-Backed Study Finds No Remdesivir Benefit for Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients," 17 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disseminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disseminate. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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