[ sem-uh-nl ]
/ ˈsɛm ə nl /


pertaining to, containing, or consisting of semen.
Botany. of or relating to seed.
having possibilities of future development.
highly original and influencing the development of future events: a seminal artist; seminal ideas.

Nearby words

  1. semimatte,
  2. semimembranous,
  3. semimicroanalysis,
  4. semiminor axis,
  5. semimonthly,
  6. seminal colliculus,
  7. seminal duct,
  8. seminal fluid,
  9. seminal gland,
  10. seminal granule

Origin of seminal

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin sēminālis, equivalent to sēmin- (stem of sēmen) seed, semen + -ālis -al1

Related formssem·i·nal·i·ty, nounsem·i·nal·ly, adverbin·ter·sem·i·nal, adjectivepre·sem·i·nal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for seminal

British Dictionary definitions for seminal


/ (ˈsɛmɪnəl) /


potentially capable of development
highly original, influential, and important
rudimentary or unformed
of or relating to semenseminal fluid
biology of or relating to seed
Derived Formsseminality, nounseminally, adverb

Word Origin for seminal

C14: from Late Latin sēminālis belonging to seed, from Latin sēmen seed

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 seminal



late 14c., "of seed or semen," from Old French seminal (14c.) and directly from Latin seminalis, from semen (genitive seminis) "seed" (see semen). Figurative sense of "full of possibilities" is attested from 1630s. Related: Seminally; seminality.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for seminal


[ sĕmə-nəl ]


Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.