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

Investigators have gleaned latitude and longitude data that lines up with information publicly disseminated by tracking networks, Mr. Utomo said. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Investigators Download 69 Hours of Data From Crashed Lion Air Jet," 4 Nov. 2018 Last week, Facebook invited some media outlets to an event to hear what the company plans on doing about misinformation disseminated on its platform. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Why is InfoWars allowed on Facebook? Zuckerberg: Because it doesn’t cause “harm”," 18 July 2018 The footage was disseminated in real-time on Twitter and Snapchat, with tributes to the 20-year-old slain rapper, born Jahseh Onfroy, pouring out before he was even pronounced dead. Gerrick D. Kennedy, latimes.com, "Slain rapper XXXTentacion's violent life stood in stark contrast to sensitive music that reached out to those on the edge," 20 June 2018 The more information disseminated about his delivery, the more there is potentially for opposing hitters to exploit. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Dallas Keuchel changes tune on tipping pitches, but remains stumped on struggles," 9 June 2018 A week after the allegations, Facebook met with top conservative leaders to discuss how the platform disseminates information. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Facebook’s first wave of ‘trustworthy’ news shows sure includes a lot of Fox News," 11 July 2018 AfricArxiv is one of 21 community preprint services built on the OSF, including Arabixiv, which disseminates knowledge in Arabic, and INA-Rxiv for Indonesian scientists. Smriti Mallapaty, Scientific American, "African Scientists Launch their Own Preprint," 26 June 2018 Where traditional education institutions might hire many instructors to teach a course, online learning allows for lessons to be disseminated to an endless number of students, bypassing the faculty-intensive model. Tracey Lien, latimes.com, "Algorithms are coming for their jobs, so workers are teaching themselves algorithms," 4 May 2018 Her unclothed buttocks would have been visible to the suspect.’’ Silent Observer disseminated a surveillance image of the suspect to area media four days later; the calls started coming in. John Hogan, Detroit Free Press, "Grandville 'potty peeper' admits to peering over bathroom stall at Meijer," 18 Apr. 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

14 Nov 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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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).


by force of circumstances

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