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

Definition of seminal

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

Other Words from seminal

seminally \ ˈse-​mə-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce seminal (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
Recent Examples on the Web Margo, at home with her newborn daughter, had missed the festival, but Jay considered her very much there in spirit): leading to the seminal moment of Dolly. Marissa R Moss, SPIN, 10 May 2022 Throughout the episode, Ruth listens to Nas' seminal debut album Illmatic on loop, and the '90s classic acts as a sort of spiritual narrator of the entire episode. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 27 Apr. 2022 Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine is shaping up to be a seminal moment in the history of American foreign policy. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 Hammett and Trujillio shared their seminal —and still ongoing — experiences with record shops and why the experience of physical retail as a place of community or discovery is not something to give up, for them. Chris Willman, Variety, 22 Apr. 2022 As a seminal figure in martial arts, known for bringing hand-to-hand combat into the forefront, Mr. Yu paved the way for stars, like Mr. Lee and Jackie Chan, who found great success outside Asia. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Russell led a discussion during his African American history class last week tracing seminal events leading to the civil rights movement. Mark Gillispie, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 But the nascent new strategy goes far beyond the Kremlin leader, as planners are continuing to revise seminal documents that are to be presented in the coming months. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2022 Last month, a new national nonprofit called Apprenticeships for America launched with the stated objective of focusing apprenticeship policy and funding on the seminal importance of intermediaries. Ryan Craig, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for seminal

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

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Dictionary Entries Near seminal



seminal animalcule

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seminal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for seminal


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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