seed

noun
\ ˈsēd How to pronounce seed (audio) \
plural seed or seeds

Definition of seed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : the grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing
(2) : the fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant broadly : a propagative plant structure (such as a spore or small dry fruit)
b : a propagative animal structure:
(1) : milt, semen
(2) : a small egg (as of an insect)
(3) : a developmental form of a lower animal suitable for transplanting specifically : spat
c : the condition or stage of bearing seed in seed
2 : progeny
3 : a source of development or growth : germ sowed the seeds of discord
4 : something (such as a tiny particle or a bubble in glass) that resembles a seed in shape or size
5 : a competitor who has been seeded in a tournament the top seed
go to seed or run to seed
1 : to develop seed

seed

verb
seeded; seeding; seeds

Definition of seed (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to bear or shed seed
2 : to sow seed : plant

transitive verb

1a : to plant seeds in : sow seed a lawn with grass
b : to furnish with something that causes or stimulates growth or development
c : inoculate
d : to supply with nuclei (as of crystallization or condensation) especially : to treat (a cloud) with solid particles to convert water droplets into ice crystals in an attempt to produce precipitation
e : to cover or permeate by or as if by scattering something seeded [the] sea-lanes with thousands of magnetic mines— Otto Friedrich
3 : to extract the seeds from (fruit)
4a : to schedule (tournament players or teams) so that superior ones will not meet in early rounds
b : to rank (a contestant) relative to others in a tournament on the basis of previous record the top-seeded tennis star

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from seed

Noun

seed adjective
seeded \ ˈsē-​dəd How to pronounce seeded (audio) \ adjective
seedless \ ˈsēd-​ləs How to pronounce seedless (audio) \ adjective
seedlike \ ˈsēd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce seedlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for seed

Synonyms: Noun

fountainhead, germ, origin, root, seedbed

Synonyms: Verb

drill, plant, put in, sow

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Do you cede or seed control?

Verb

Cede means "to yield or grant typically by treaty." Most of the verb senses of seed are concerned with planting seeds (either literal, as of plants, or figuratively, as of ideas). However, the word may also be used to mean "to schedule (tournament players or teams) so that superior ones will not meet in early rounds." If you relinquish or yield something you are ceding it, and if you are organizing the participants in a tournament you are seeding them.

Examples of seed in a Sentence

Noun

a packet of sunflower seeds He planted the seeds three inches apart. She raked the grass seed into the soil. The top seed won the tournament. Our team is the number one seed. She is ranked as the third seed.

Verb

We seeded the field with corn. These plants will seed late in the fall. After you wash and seed the peppers you can chop them.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Place fennel seeds in heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and crush with bottom of heavy pan. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Fennel and Thyme Pork Roast with Root Vegetables," 8 Mar. 2019 Some consumers are disappointed that store shelves will only stock dried flower, oils and seeds when sales begin — no edibles. NBC News, "Legal marijuana will roll out differently in Canada than in U.S.," 21 June 2018 Part of the project focuses on an Australian machine called the Harrington Seed Destructor, which can be towed behind a combine to catch and crush weed seeds. Brooke Borel, Scientific American, "Weeds Are Winning the War against Herbicide Resistance," 18 June 2018 There is some confusion, however, because the seeds of the flower — Papaver somniferum by its scientific name — are readily available, including on websites like Amazon. Sophie Haigney, San Francisco Chronicle, "34,000 pounds of opium poppies seized in Monterey County," 3 June 2018 Rub cumin seed and ginger on the outside of the bird and roast with vegetables for a simple and delicious one pan meal. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spiced Roast Chicken with Caramelized Carrots and Shallots," 15 Feb. 2019 In small skillet, toast fennel seeds and orange zest until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Fennel Roasted Chicken and Peppers," 21 Dec. 2018 Peel, seed and roughly chop two of the cucumbers and add to the food processor. Susan Selasky, ajc, "5 recipes to cool things down on hot days," 3 July 2018 This includes leftover citrus juices, citrus rinds, and the seeds and skins of fruits. Rachel King, Fortune, "Sustainable Cocktails Could Be the Next Big Trend in Bartending," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Moore also runs a leg of both the Lake Ridge girls 4x100 and 4x200 relays, each top-seeded entering state. Rick Mauch, star-telegram, "UIL State Meet Preview: Arlington ISD student is fastest 110 hurdler in the country, but he's not satisfied | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 10 May 2018 Teenage rave parties in Australia are an unlikely place to seed a career, admits de Kluyver, flashing back to the early 2000s. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "These 3 Makeup Artists Are Bringing Serious Cool to the Runways—And Rewriting Beauty Rules at the Same Time," 6 Mar. 2019 Since professionals were admitted to the Grand Slam tournaments in 1968, only five times did women who were seeded No. Fox News, "No. 1 seed Simona Halep loses in first-round at US Open," 27 Aug. 2018 The field is seeded 1-8 based upon their regular-season home run total. USA TODAY, "Home Run Derby field: Bryce Harper headlines slugging showcase," 11 July 2018 For example, airplanes don't only generate warming through carbon emissions; their contrails also seed high-altitude clouds, which have an insulating effect. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "When will electric airliners make sense?," 14 Dec. 2018 Perhaps alien worlds could be seeded deliberately with terrestrial micro-organisms that might take hold there, jump-starting evolution on those planets. The Economist, "Colonising the galaxy is hard. Why not send bacteria instead?," 12 Apr. 2018 The government is also thinking about setting up what would be the world’s largest cloud-seeding operation in Tibet. The Economist, "Could Tibetan clouds save China from drought?," 5 Apr. 2018 And Wimbledon seeded them according to their current rankings: No. Liz Clarke, chicagotribune.com, "In triumphant return to Wimbledon, Serena Williams faces new questions," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of seed

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2

History and Etymology for seed

Noun

Middle English, from Old English sǣd; akin to Old High German sāt seed, Old English sāwan to sow — more at sow

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about seed

Statistics for seed

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for seed

The first known use of seed was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for seed

seed

noun

English Language Learners Definition of seed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small object produced by a plant from which a new plant can grow
: the beginning of something which continues to develop or grow
: a player or team that is ranked as one of the best in a competition (such as a tennis tournament) in order to be sure that the best players or teams do not play against each other in the early part of the competition

seed

verb

English Language Learners Definition of seed (Entry 2 of 2)

: to plant (an area of ground) with seeds
of a plant : to produce seeds
: to remove (seeds) from a fruit or vegetable

seed

noun
\ ˈsēd How to pronounce seed (audio) \

Kids Definition of seed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tiny developing plant that is enclosed in a protective coat usually along with a supply of food and that is able to develop under suitable conditions into a plant like the one that produced it
2 : a small structure (as a spore or a tiny dry fruit) other than a true seed by which a plant reproduces itself
3 : the descendants of one individual
4 : a source of development or growth : germ The comment planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

Other Words from seed

seeded \ ˈsē-​dəd \ adjective
seedless \ ˈsēd-​ləs \ adjective

seed

verb
seeded; seeding

Kids Definition of seed (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : sow entry 2 sense 2, plant Farmers seed the fields with wheat.
2 : to produce or shed seeds The plant seeds early.
3 : to take the seeds out of You have to wash and seed the peppers.

seed

noun
\ ˈsēd How to pronounce seed (audio) \
plural seed or seeds

Medical Definition of seed

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant broadly : a propagative plant structure (as a spore or small dry fruit)
b : a propagative animal structure:
(1) : milt, semen
(2) : a small egg (as of an insect)
(3) : a developmental form of a lower animal — see seed tick
2 : a small usually glass and gold or platinum capsule used as a container for a radioactive substance (as radium or radon) to be applied usually interstitially in the treatment of cancer implantation of radon seeds for bladder cancer

Medical Definition of seed (Entry 2 of 3)

: to bear or shed seed

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with something that causes or stimulates growth or development
2 : inoculate
3 : to supply with nuclei (as of crystallization or condensation)

seed

adjective

Medical Definition of seed (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : selected or used to produce a new crop or stock seed virus
2 : left or saved for breeding a seed population

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on seed

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with seed

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seed

Spanish Central: Translation of seed

Nglish: Translation of seed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about seed

Comments on seed

What made you want to look up seed? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!