[ seed ]
See synonyms for: seedseededseedingseeds on

noun,plural seeds, (especially collectively) seed.
  1. the fertilized, matured ovule of a flowering plant, containing an embryo or rudimentary plant.

  2. any propagative part of a plant, including tubers, bulbs, etc., especially as preserved for growing a new crop.

  1. such parts collectively.

  2. any similar small part or fruit.

  3. Dialect. pit2.

  4. the germ or propagative source of anything: the seeds of discord.

  5. offspring; progeny.

  6. birth: not of mortal seed.

  7. sperm; semen.

  8. the ovum or ova of certain animals, as the lobster and the silkworm moth.

  9. a small air bubble in a glass piece, caused by defective firing.

  10. Crystallography, Chemistry. a small crystal added to a solution to promote crystallization.

  11. Tennis. a player who has been seeded in a tournament.

verb (used with object)
  1. to sow (a field, lawn, etc.) with seed.

  2. to sow or scatter (seed).

  1. to sow or scatter (clouds) with crystals or particles of silver iodide, solid carbon dioxide, etc., to induce precipitation.

  2. to place, introduce, etc., especially in the hope of increase or profit: to seed a lake with trout.

  3. to sprinkle on (a surface, substance, etc.) in the manner of seed: to seed an icy bridge with chemicals.

  4. to remove the seeds from (fruit).

  5. Sports.

    • to arrange (the drawings for positions in a tournament) so that ranking players or teams will not meet in the early rounds of play.

    • to distribute (ranking players or teams) in this manner.

  6. to develop or stimulate (a business, project, etc.), especially by providing operating capital.

verb (used without object)
  1. to sow seed.

  2. to produce or shed seed.

  1. of or producing seed; used for seed: a seed potato.

  2. being or providing capital for the initial stages of a new business or other enterprise: The research project began with seed donations from the investors.

Idioms about seed

  1. go / run to seed,

    • (of the flower of a plant) to pass to the stage of yielding seed.

    • to lose vigor, power, or prosperity; deteriorate: He has gone to seed in the last few years.

  2. in seed,

    • (of certain plants) in the state of bearing ripened seeds.

    • (of a field, a lawn, etc.) sown with seed.

Origin of seed

before 900; (noun) Middle English sede, side, seed(e), Old English sēd, sǣd; cognate with German Saat,Old Norse sāth,Gothic -seths; (v.) Middle English seden to produce seeds, derivative of the noun; akin to sow1

Other words for seed

Other words from seed

  • seedless, adjective
  • seed·less·ness, noun
  • seedlike, adjective
  • de·seed, verb (used with object)
  • o·ver·seed, verb
  • re·seed, verb
  • un·der·seed·ed, adjective
  • un·seed·ed, adjective
  • un·seed·ing, adjective
  • well-seeded, adjective

Words that may be confused with seed Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use seed in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for seed (1 of 2)


/ (siːd) /

  1. botany a mature fertilized plant ovule, consisting of an embryo and its food store surrounded by a protective seed coat (testa): Related adjective: seminal

  2. the small hard seedlike fruit of plants such as wheat

  1. (loosely) any propagative part of a plant, such as a tuber, spore, or bulb

  2. such parts collectively

  3. the source, beginning, or germ of anything: the seeds of revolt

  4. mainly Bible offspring or descendants: the seed of Abraham

  5. an archaic or dialect term for sperm 1, semen

  6. sport a seeded player

  7. the egg cell or cells of the lobster and certain other animals

  8. chem a small crystal added to a supersaturated solution or supercooled liquid to induce crystallization

  9. go to seed or run to seed

    • (of plants) to produce and shed seeds

    • to lose vigour, usefulness, etc

  1. to plant (seeds, grain, etc) in (soil): we seeded this field with oats

  2. (intr) (of plants) to form or shed seeds

  1. (tr) to remove the seeds from (fruit, etc)

  2. (tr) chem to add a small crystal to (a supersaturated solution or supercooled liquid) in order to cause crystallization

  3. (tr) to scatter certain substances, such as silver iodide, in (clouds) in order to cause rain

  4. (tr)

    • to arrange (the draw of a tournament) so that outstanding teams or players will not meet in the early rounds

    • to distribute (players or teams) in this manner

Origin of seed

Old English sǣd; related to Old Norse sāth, Gothic sēths, Old High German sāt

Derived forms of seed

  • seedlike, adjective
  • seedless, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for SEED (2 of 2)


abbreviation for
  1. Scottish Executive Education Department

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

Scientific definitions for seed


[ sēd ]

  1. A mature fertilized ovule of angiosperms and gymnosperms that contains an embryo and the food it will need to grow into a new plant. Seeds provide a great reproductive advantage in being able to survive for extended periods until conditions are favorable for germination and growth. The seeds of gymnosperms (such as the conifers) develop on scales of cones or similar structures, while the seeds of angiosperms are enclosed in an ovary that develops into a fruit, such as a pome or nut. The structure of seeds varies somewhat. All seeds are enclosed in a protective seed coat. In certain angiosperms the embryo is enclosed in or attached to an endosperm, a tissue that it uses as a food source either before or during germination. All angiosperm embryos also have at least one cotyledon. The first seed-bearing plants emerged at least 365 million years ago in the late Devonian Period. Many angiosperms have evolved specific fruits for dispersal of seeds by the wind, water, or animals. See more at germination ovule.

  1. To plant seeds in soil.

  2. To initiate rainfall or to generate additional rainfall by artificially increasing the precipitation efficiency of clouds. See more at cloud seeding.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with seed


see run to seed.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.