Last modified on 29 August 2014, at 06:53

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

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 *sētis-, *seh₁tis (corresponding to Proto-Germanic *sēaną (to sow) +‎ *-þiz), from Proto-Indo-European *seh₁- (to sow, throw). Cognate with West Frisian sied (seed), Dutch zaad (seed), Low German Saad (seed), German Saat (seed), Danish sæd (seed), Swedish säd (seed), Latin satio (seeding, time of sowing, season). More at sow.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

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Sunflower seeds (1).

seed (countable and uncountable, plural seeds)

  1. (countable) A fertilized grain, initially encased in a fruit, which may grow into a mature plant.
    • 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “Wild Plants to the Rescue”, 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.
  2. (countable, botany) A fertilized ovule, containing an embryonic plant.
  3. (uncountable) An amount of fertilized grain that cannot be readily counted.
    The entire field was covered with geese eating the freshly sown seed.
  4. (uncountable) Semen.
    Sometimes a man may feel encouraged to spread his seed before he settles down to raise a family.
  5. (countable) A precursor.
    the seed of an idea;  which idea was the seed (idea)?
  6. (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.
  7. (now rare) Offspring, descendants, progeny.
    the seed of Abraham
    • 1590, 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.x:
      Next him king Leyr in happie peace long raind, / But had no issue male him to succeed, / But three faire daughters, which were well vptraind, / In all that seemed fit for kingly seed []
  8. Race; generation; birth.
    • Waller
      Of mortal seed they were not held.

Usage notesEdit

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

Derived termsEdit

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VerbEdit

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.
  2. To cover thinly with something scattered; to ornament with seedlike decorations.
    • Ben Jonson
      a sable mantle seeded with waking eyes
  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, games) To allocate a seeding to a competitor.
  5. To be able to compete (especially in a quarter-final/semi-final/final).
    The tennis player seeded into the quarters.
  6. To ejaculate inside the penetratee during intercourse, especially in the rectum.

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AnagramsEdit