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See more synonyms for germinate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), ger·mi·nat·ed, ger·mi·nat·ing.
  1. to begin to grow or develop.
  2. Botany.
    1. to develop into a plant or individual, as a seed, spore, or bulb.
    2. to put forth shoots; sprout; pullulate.
  3. to come into existence; begin.
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verb (used with object), ger·mi·nat·ed, ger·mi·nat·ing.
  1. to cause to develop; produce.
  2. to cause to come into existence; create.
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Origin of germinate

1600–10; < Latin germinātus (past participle of germināre to sprout, bud), equivalent to germin- (see germinal) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsger·mi·na·ble [jur-muh-nuh-buh l] /ˈdʒɜr mə nə bəl/, adjectiveger·mi·na·tion, nounger·mi·na·tor, nounnon·ger·mi·nat·ing, adjectivenon·ger·mi·na·tion, nounre·ger·mi·nate, verb, re·ger·mi·nat·ed, re·ger·mi·nat·ing.re·ger·mi·na·tion, nounun·ger·mi·nat·ed, adjectiveun·ger·mi·nat·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for germination

Historical Examples

  • The marvel of germination must have awakened admiration from a very early date.

    The Legacy of Greece


  • It is said that a great number of the seeds were in the first stage of germination.

  • These rays preponderate at the time of ploughing, sowing, and germination.

  • This is often of great importance, as in the period of germination of seed.

  • Then watch and make notes of the time it takes for germination.

    Making a Lawn

    Luke Joseph Doogue

British Dictionary definitions for germination


  1. to cause (seeds or spores) to sprout or (of seeds or spores) to sprout or form new tissue following increased metabolism
  2. to grow or cause to grow; develop
  3. to come or bring into existence; originatethe idea germinated with me
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Derived Formsgerminable or germinative, adjectivegermination, noungerminator, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin germināre to sprout; see germ
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for germination


mid-15c., from Latin germinationem (nominative germinatio) "sprouting forth, budding," noun of action from past participle stem of germinare "to sprout, put forth shoots," from germen (genitive germinis) "a sprout or bud" (see germ).

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c.1600, probably a back-formation from germination. Earlier germynen (mid-15c.) was from Latin germinare. Figurative use from 1640s. Related: Germinated; germinating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

germination in Science


  1. The beginning of growth, as of a seed, spore, or bud. The germination of most seeds and spores occurs in response to warmth and water.
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A Closer Look: Dormant seeds are very dry and require the absorption of water to initiate the metabolic processes of respiration and begin to digest their stored food. Respiration requires the presence of oxygen, which must be sufficiently available in the soil for germination to proceed, so the soil must be wet but not so waterlogged as to make oxygen inaccessible. Temperatures must be above freezing (zero degrees Celsius) but not excessively hot (not more than about 45 degrees Celsius). If conditions are right, a radicle (an embryonic root) emerges from the seed coat, anchoring the seed; it then grows and puts out lateral roots. In most eudicots, a part of the developing stem, either the epicotyl (the stem above the cotyledons) or the hypocotyl (the stem below the cotyledons) elongates, forming a hook and gradually pulling the seed coat and the delicate shoot tip above the soil surface. Germination of eudicot seeds is normally divided into two types, designated epigeous and hypogeous. In epigeous germination, the cotyledons emerge above the soil surface, and wither and drop off after their food stores have been used up; in hypogeous germination, the cotyledons remain below the surface and decompose after their food stores have been used up. In most monocots, food is stored in the seed's endosperm (rather than the cotyledon), and it is the single tubular cotyledon that elongates and draws the seed coat out of the soil. The cotyledon conducts photosynthesis, making more food, while the shoot grows up inside the tube.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.