sem·​i·​nal | \ ˈse-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce seminal (audio) \

Definition of seminal

1 : of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen
2 : containing or contributing the seeds of later development : creative, original a seminal book

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Other Words from seminal

seminally \ ˈse-​mə-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce seminally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of seminal in a Sentence

Kandel was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2000 for his seminal observation that it was in the action of the synapses between cells that memory existed, not in the cells themselves, and that a molecule called cyclic AMP was what allowed cells to retain memory over the long term. — Michael Greenberg, New York Review of Books, 4 Dec. 2008 Writer Susan Sontag died December 28 at age 71 after a long battle with cancer. She left behind an impressive body of fiction and criticism, including her seminal 1960s essays "Notes on Camp" and "Against Interpretation." — Allan Gurganus, Advocate, 1 Feb. 2005 I wonder if the curators who organized "Matisse Picasso" ever asked themselves why it was that Alfred H. Barr Jr., the first director of the Museum of Modern Art and the guiding spirit behind the museum's seminal exhibitions of both Picasso and Matisse, never mounted a show like the one that has now arrived at MoMA QNS. Such an exhibition might seem to be logical, almost inevitable for the Museum of Modern Art. — Jed Perl, New Republic, 3 Mar. 2003
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Recent Examples on the Web

The riots began with a police raid of the Greenwich Village bar back in June 1969, and became a seminal moment in the LGBTQ movement. CBS News, ""Wrong, plain and simple": NYPD apologizes for raid that led to Stonewall riots," 6 June 2019 Perhaps your first foray into masturbating wasn't with a pool jet but a stuffed panda bear with one eye—looking at you, Booksmart—or My Little Pony á la Pen15 (truly a seminal show). Haley Swanson, Glamour, "6 Benefits of Female Masturbation That Will Convince You to Do it More," 30 May 2019 And on Sunday, garden writer Margaret Roach will be launching a new edition of her seminal book, A Way to Garden. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "This Hudson Valley Craft Market Will Jumpstart Your Garden," 9 May 2019 Answering on the second ring, the great geologist explained his seminal theory on what led to the extinction of dinosaurs: the cataclysmic crash of a comet or asteroid into the Earth 66 million years ago. Dennis Drabelle,, "Illinois-native's book on fantastic beasts and those who find them," 5 June 2018 According to Sam Wasson’s seminal Bob Fosse biography Fosse, the basis for the show, this scene actually happened. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Yes, That Fosse/Verdon Cheating Scene Is Based in Fact," 10 Apr. 2019 If all the seminal stars align, precum can theoretically carry live sperm out of the urethra and into your body. Kasandra Brabaw, SELF, "Can You Get Pregnant From Precum?," 7 Mar. 2019 Set in this far future on a completely different world, Herbert's Dune became a seminal text in the history of science fiction. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'," 14 Jan. 2019 Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama will direct all episodes, having done that kind of work with seminal mid-'00s series Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex, respectively. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Adult Swim, Crunchyroll announce first-ever co-production: A Blade Runner anime," 29 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seminal.' 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 seminal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for seminal

Middle English, from Latin seminalis, from semin-, semen seed — more at semen

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Statistics for seminal

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for seminal

The first known use of seminal was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of seminal

formal : having a strong influence on ideas, works, events, etc., that come later : very important and influential
medical : of or containing semen


sem·​i·​nal | \ ˈsem-ən-ᵊl How to pronounce seminal (audio) \

Medical Definition of seminal

: of, relating to, or consisting of seed or semen seminal discharge

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More from Merriam-Webster on seminal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with seminal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seminal

Nglish: Translation of seminal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seminal for Arabic Speakers

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