🤩 Discover new information from across the web

seed definition


This page has 25 definitions of seed in English. Seed is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use seed in a sentence are shown. Also define these 35 related words and terms: botany, fertilize, ovule, embryo, fruit, agriculture, sow, fragment, coral, semen, precursor, germ, ultimate, offspring, descendants, progeny, bubble, glass, plant, start, initial, sports, gaming, allocate, seeding, Internet, file, download, peer-to-peer, BitTorrent, grow, maturity, ejaculate, penetratee, and see.

See also: Seed



Etymology 1

From Middle English seed, sede, side, from Old English sēd, sǣd (seed, that which is sown), from Proto-Germanic *sēdiz (seed), from Proto-Indo-European *seh₁tis (corresponding to Proto-Germanic *sēaną (to sow) + *-þiz), from *seh₁- (to sow, throw). Cognate with West Frisian sied (seed), Dutch zaad (seed), Low German Saad (seed), German Saat (sowing; seed), Icelandic sæði (seed), Danish sæd (seed), Swedish säd (seed), Latin satio (seeding, time of sowing, season). More at sow.

Alternative forms


seed (countable and uncountable, plural seeds)

Sunflower seeds (1).
  1. (countable, botany) A fertilized and ripened ovule, containing an embryonic plant.
    • Botany definition
      The scientific study of plants, a branch of biology. Typically those disciplines that involve the whole plant. (1 of 4 botany definitions)
    • Embryo definition
      In the reproductive cycle, the stage after the fertilization of the egg that precedes the development into a fetus. (1 of 6 embryo definitions)
  2. (countable) Any small seed-like fruit.
    • 1658, Thomas Browne, “The Garden of Cyrus. []. Chapter III.”, in Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall, [] Together with The Garden of Cyrus, [], London: [] Hen[ry] Brome [], OCLC 48702491; reprinted as Hydriotaphia (The English Replicas), New York, N.Y.: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1927, OCLC 78413388, page 136:
      The exiguity and ſmallneſſe of ſome ſeeds extending to large productions is one of the magnalities of nature, ſomewhat illuſtrating the work of the Creation, and vaſt production from nothing.
    • 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “Wild Plants to the Rescue”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3:
      Plant breeding is always a numbers game. [] The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation,  [] . In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better. These rarities may be new mutations, or they can be existing ones that are neutral—or are even selected against—in a wild population. A good example is mutations that disrupt seed dispersal, leaving the seeds on the heads long after they are ripe.
    If you plant a seed in the spring, you may have a pleasant surprise in the autumn.
    • Fruit definition
      In general, a product of plant growth useful to man or animals. (1 of 9 fruit definitions)
  3. (countable, agriculture) Any propagative portion of a plant which may be sown, such as true seeds, seed-like fruits, tubers, or bulbs.
  4. (uncountable, collective) An amount of seeds that cannot be readily counted.
    The entire field was covered with geese eating the freshly sown seed.
  5. (countable) A fragment of coral.
    • Fragment definition
      A part broken off; a small, detached portion; an imperfect part, either physically or not (1 of 4 fragment definitions)
  6. (uncountable) Semen.
    • 1611, King James Version, Leviticus 15:16:
      And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
    A man must use his seed to start and raise a family.
    • Semen definition
      A sticky, milky fluid produced in male reproductive organs that contains the reproductive cells.
  7. (countable, figuratively) A precursor.
    Synonym: germ
    the seed of an idea; which idea was the seed (idea)?
  8. (countable) The initial state, condition or position of a changing, growing or developing process; the ultimate precursor in a defined chain of precursors.
    1. The initial position of a competitor or team in a tournament. (seed position)
      The team with the best regular season record receives the top seed in the conference tournament.
    2. The competitor or team occupying a given seed. (seed position)
      The rookie was a surprising top seed.
    3. Initialization state of a pseudorandom number generator (PRNG). (seed number)
      If you use the same seed you will get exactly the same pattern of numbers.
    4. Commercial message in a creative format placed on relevant sites on the Internet. (seed idea or seed message)
      The latest seed has attracted a lot of users in our online community.
  9. (now rare) Offspring, descendants, progeny.
    the seed of Abraham
  10. Race; generation; birth.
    • a. 1687, Edmund Waller, To Zelinda
      Of mortal seed they were not held.
  11. A small bubble formed in imperfectly fused glass.
Usage notes

The common use of seed differs from the botanical use. The “seeds” of sunflowers are botanically fruits.

Derived terms


seed (third-person singular simple present seeds, present participle seeding, simple past and past participle seeded)

  1. (transitive) To plant or sow an area with seeds.
    I seeded my lawn with bluegrass.
    • Plant definition
      An organism that is not an animal, especially an organism capable of photosynthesis. Typically a small or herbaceous organism of this kind, rather than a tree. (1 of 15 plant definitions)
  2. (transitive) To cover thinly with something scattered; to ornament with seedlike decorations.
  3. (transitive) To start; to provide, assign or determine the initial resources for, position of, state of.
    A venture capitalist seeds young companies.
    The tournament coordinator will seed the starting lineup with the best competitors from the qualifying round.
    The programmer seeded fresh, uncorrupted data into the database before running unit tests.
  4. (sports, gaming) To allocate a seeding to a competitor.
  5. (Internet, transitive) To leave (files) available for others to download through peer-to-peer file sharing protocols (e.g. BitTorrent).
    • Internet definition
      The specific internet consisting of a global network of computers that communicate using Internet Protocol (IP) and that use Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to identify the best paths to route those communications.
  6. (intransitive) To be qualified to compete, especially in a quarter-final, semi-final, or final.
    The tennis player seeded into the quarters.
  7. (intransitive) To produce seed.
  8. (intransitive) To grow to maturity.
  9. (slang, vulgar) To ejaculate inside the penetratee during intercourse, especially in the rectum.
Derived terms

Etymology 2

see +‎ -d (past tense suffix; variant of -ed).



  1. (dialectal) simple past tense and past participle of see