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

Under federal law, methadone can be prescribed and disseminated only at a special methadone clinic. Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF mayor’s bold plan to treat heroin addicts on the street," 16 May 2018 Sandmann’s family had hired RunSwitch, a Kentucky public relations firm with Republican ties, to help craft and disseminate his statement and to navigate the media. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "Behind the PR Machine That Helped Change the Nick Sandmann Narrative," 25 Jan. 2019 The leaks, which were mainly disseminated through a Twitter account that the company shut down on Friday, included personal data from Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said government officials. Ruth Bender, WSJ, "In Privacy-Minded Germany, a Massive Leak Strikes the Political Class," 4 Jan. 2019 But the two reports show the trolls used multiple websites to disseminate their narratives. Alex Ward, Vox, "4 main takeaways from new reports on Russia’s 2016 election interference," 17 Dec. 2018 But in April, the federal agency reversed course, agreeing to a settlement that would have allowed Wilson’s firm to disseminate the plans. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "3D-printed guns: Federal judge in Seattle frustrated over case, could make decision by Monday," 21 Aug. 2018 Between 2014 and 2015, researchers studied 5,300 flight attendants through surveys that were disseminated online, via mail and in person at airports. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Flight Attendants May Face Increased Risk for Many Cancers, Study Finds," 27 June 2018 Reed was charged with three counts of rape and abuse of a child, and one count each of enticement of a child under 16, disseminating harmful matter to minors, and possession of child pornography, the statement said. Elise Takahama And Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Newburyport man to be arraigned on charges of raping a child under 16 years old," 23 Apr. 2018 The shooting Saturday was the second act of hatred in recent days to expose the way social-media services can be platforms for dangerous people to disseminate threats and intolerance that publicly foreshadow their violence. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "Gab.com Founder Defends Site After Shooting," 28 Oct. 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

21 Feb 2019

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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

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

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Comments on disseminate

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excited commotion or publicity

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