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 All works created, published, posted or disseminated by Wisconsin Watch do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates. Shayli Kipnis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsinites use cannabis as a medicine, but research and the law are not yet on their side," 21 Nov. 2019 She was frustrated with the lack of knowledge by most people on how to properly take care of their skin, and also the bad information being disseminated on social media. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Lesley Thornton Is Putting Some Skin In The Game With Her Brand KLUR," 29 Aug. 2019 This woman is not trans, the judge is not trans, the media now disseminating information about the case is largely not trans, JK Rowling is not trans. Katelyn Burns, The New Republic, "When “Biology” Becomes a Cover for Anti-Trans Bigotry," 30 Dec. 2019 The law also doesn’t require the person who disseminated the images to know the person in the photographs had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Arluther Lee, ajc, "Court: Revenge porn conviction violated man’s free speech rights," 24 Dec. 2019 The feeling is perhaps magnified among those whose business was disseminating human culture. The Economist, "Setting type How the world’s old printing presses are being brought back to life," 18 Dec. 2019 Propaganda profiteer Mark Zuckerberg and others preside over vast machines that disseminate misinformation in a digital instant. BostonGlobe.com, "Up is down, the president says. And isn’t the sky a fetching shade of green? Yes, yes, yes, say the grovelers on Capitol Hill. As plain as day, aver the Fox News flunkies. Tens of millions more believe Donald Trump’s word over their own lying eyes, for they voted for him, and will again.," 12 Dec. 2019 Their platform, Verificado 18, or Verified 18, works like a news service, with their fact-checks disseminated throughout the country via a large network of newspapers and online sites. Kate Linthicum, latimes.com, "Mexico has its own fake news crisis. These journalists are fighting back," 15 Apr. 2018 Authoritarian governments have also learned to co-opt social media, using it to disseminate propaganda, rally sympathizers or simply spread confusion, Professor Chenoweth said. New York Times, "From Chile to Lebanon, Protests Flare Over Wallet Issues," 23 Oct. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disseminate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disseminating. Accessed 24 January 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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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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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