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or seeds

3 with object Remove the seeds from (vegetables or fruit)

Definition of seed in English:

1 The unit of reproduction of a flowering plant, capable of developing into another such plant.

  • ‘The proportion of flowers and ovules that develop into fruits and seeds in flowering plants rarely reaches 1.’
  • ‘In maize, as in all flowering plants, the seed develops inside a coat of maternal origin.’
  • ‘We collected fruits and counted the total number of flowers, fruits, and fully developed undamaged seeds from each plant.’
  • ‘Plants with relatively low seed mass, total seeds, and flower production are expected to have larger values on this axis.’
  • ‘This species feeds primarily on fruits and the seeds of herbaceous plants.’
  • ‘However, in a few cases, seeds of plants cultivated in botanical gardens were also used.’
  • ‘Not all viable seeds produced in natural plant populations germinate in the season following their production.’
  • ‘These seeds were similar in size and buoyancy characteristics to the seeds of cobble beach plants.’
  • ‘The germinated seeds were planted in gravel and further incubated under culture room conditions.’
  • ‘That imbalance prevents seeds and pollen from developing normally, making the mutant plants sterile.’
  • ‘Sunflower seeds are sown in the first fortnight of October.’
  • ‘Germinated seeds were planted individually in ceramic pots containing 300 ml of vermiculite, and then inoculated.’
  • ‘Why, I wonder, would 5 million farmers on five continents around the world want to sow GM seeds?’
  • ‘Most weed seeds germinate only in the top two inches of soil.’
  • ‘In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden and fragrant.’
  • ‘They flower from March to June and disperse mature seeds from May to July in the second year.’
  • ‘The germinating asparagus seed has a very large radicle (root).’
  • ‘Can the mustard seed ever grow too big?’
  • ‘The embryos of imbibed seeds had a water content six times that of dry seeds.’
  • ‘The grains represent hope and the honey and poppy seeds symbolise happiness and peace.’
  1. 1.1 mass noun A quantity of seeds.
  • ‘Dovuro organises production of commercial quantities of seed, and markets seeds to distributors.’
  • ‘Mike and Polly travel extensively, especially to the USA, bringing back small quantities of seed from which they grow stock plants.’
  • ‘In more trials with indigenous plants, his immediate challenge was to amass sufficient quantities of seed so that large areas might be replanted.’
  • ‘Grow annual plants like Amaranthus and Agastache, which produce large quantities of seed, valuable food for adult sparrows.’
  • ‘They can be grown from seed if the seeds are collected in the fall and sown on top of moist peat at about 70 degrees F.’
  • ‘Myrsine africana and Montinia caryophyllacea were grown from seed.’
  • ‘Mutants of this class display shortened hypocotyls and small cotyledons after irradiation of seed.’
  • ‘In 1997, Oregon seed growers produced nearly 640 million pounds of grass seed on 439,000 acres of cropland.’
  • ‘Today only four clusters of seed companies provide seed to farmers around the world.’
  • ‘Now specimens grown from seed have been air-freighted to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh as part of a global effort to ensure the species’ long-term survival.’
  • ‘Plants were covered with perforated bags after seed set to prevent loss of seed when ears shattered at maturity.’
  • ‘In advance of the Korean Olympics in Seoul in 1988 the company supplied a large quantity of seed for red onions – for pizzas.’
  • ‘Inclusion of this genotype in the other treatments was not possible because of the low number of viable seed available.’
  • ‘A hydro-seeder is just a machine that mixes water, grass seed, fertilizer and mulch into a slurry that is sprayed onto your lawn.’
  • ‘It plans to supply $15,000 in grass seed and other funds to boost conservation efforts in Illinois and Iowa.’
  • ‘You go to the local nursery and get grass seed to fill these patches.’
  • ‘Besides cutting back overhanging trees on a three-mile stretch of path, volunteers also laid grass seed and collected debris.’
  • ‘Combine recycled grass clippings instead of grass seed with sand for your divot mix.’
  • ‘The firm sold several hundred tons of the GM maize seed to US farmers over the past four years.’
  • ‘Inclusion of this genotype in the other treatments was not possible because of the low number of viable seed available.’
  • ‘More bad publicity in the media has suggested that all may not be well with new homes, sowing seeds of doubts in the minds of potential buyers.’
  • ‘Sadly, while Franklin sows seeds of reasonable doubt in the early going, before long the answers are agonizingly clear.’
  • ‘If we had scored it could possibly have sowed some seeds of doubt in their minds and raised our confidence levels.’
  • ‘It would be a stronger book had it acknowledged the social and political conditions required for the seed of great ideas to bloom.’
  • ‘A disappointing winter tour in Australia was followed by an indifferent start to the domestic season, and inevitably a seed of doubt had been sown in the public mind.’
  • ‘His father didn’t win the seat, but the seed certainly was sown for the younger Campbell.’
  • ‘The seeds of doubt were already well entrenched in his mind.’
  • ‘There was a cause for happiness among the organisers because the seeds for self-employment were sown effectively.’
  • ‘Initiatives like these would sow seeds of peace throughout the world, he said.’
  • ‘it puts the seed of doubt in the back of their minds.’
  • ‘The new management need to get a few wins in the league for confidence and credibility, otherwise the seeds of doubt begin to be sown.’
  • ‘An individualist does not ponder ways to bring people together in an organised fashion, which is the seed of the mental process required to think up a new game.’
  • ‘This only sows seeds of meanness in your heart, causing others not to trust you and causing you to suffer.’
  • ‘In today’s church, there are those who spread the seeds of doubt about the meaning of Genesis.’
  • ‘The seed was planted to develop an incredible, retail frozen custard product with a taste that would span the likes of many generations.’

2 mass noun A man’s semen.

  1. 2.1 archaic (chiefly in biblical use) a person’s offspring or descendants.
  • ‘The key is that the promise was made to Abraham and to his seed, that is, to one seed, to one offspring.’

3 Any of a number of stronger competitors in a sports tournament who have been assigned a specified position in an ordered list with the aim of ensuring that they do not play each other in the early rounds.

  • ‘There is no debating Illinois’ position as a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.’
  • ‘‘We will look at the top seeds at this tournament for the India trip because it is the only way we can send the right body builders,’ he said.’
  • ‘Pakistan have been placed in Pool A of the Olympic tournament with top seeds Germany, Spain, Korea, Great Britain and Egypt.’
  • ‘The former European singles champion will be top seed at this new tournament, promoted by Cheshire player Mike Johns in his new capacity as table tennis promoter.’
  • ‘Kandarr used a strong service game to knock off Frazier, the second seed eliminated from the tournament.’
  • ‘This became the 21st straight tournament without a 16th seed winning a game.’
  • ‘Honeychurch entered the tournament as the top seed.’
  • ‘All the Wildcats are asking him to do is assume a starting backcourt role on a team that was a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost its starting guards.’
  • ‘Not only was he the top seed and defending champion, he was a cut above the rest in his age-group.’
  • ‘In an NCAA tournament with more than 2,000 teams, the top seed would probably lose on a buzzer beater eventually.’
  • ‘During the first round, the top eight women’s seeds all won, and only one of them was pushed to a third and decisive set.’
  • ‘At the very least, the first round exposed weaknesses among the top seeds.’
  • ‘There was no such trouble for two other men’s seeds in early second round action on another perfect morning at the National Tennis Centre.’
  • ‘While the field is not as strong, it’s no different from 1999 when Woods was the only seed remaining after three rounds.’
  • ‘The 14th seed scored his best victory since a defeat of then-world number one Pete Sampras in a final four years ago.’
  • ‘Some argue it would take away the huge advantage the top four seeds have from byes and home-field advantage.’
  • ‘The Stars coasted into the play-offs last season as the top seed in the West, then were dumped in the second round by Anaheim.’
  • ‘The two, as the top seeds, dealt out a straight set defeat to the unseeded Bulgarian pair of Enev and Kanev in the final.’
  • ‘One thing we know is that the top seeds need to start playing like top seeds.’
  • ‘This is an awfully tough game for a top seed (after the USA won its group) coming into the quarter-finals.’
  • ‘Spherulites are ideally spherical mineral growths formed by initial crystallization of a seed crystal, or crystallite, within a melt or a solution that grows outward in all directions.’
  • ‘Here we have used the atomic force microscope to directly observe changes in the atomic lattice on a calcite seed crystal after the introduction of abalone shell proteins.’
  • ‘Several examples of simple crystals were observed, although the tendency to form intergrowths and parallel features shows up almost immediately as the seed crystals reach 0.5 mm.’

5 A small container for radioactive material placed in body tissue during radiotherapy.

1 with object Sow (land) with seeds.

  • ‘The plots’ nine species are based on surveys of what northeastern dairy farmers use to seed their grazing lands.’
  • ‘At the USDA’s urging, and at a subsidised price, much of the abandoned land was seeded with crested wheat grass and it continued to be the plant of choice under the federal Conservation Reserve Program for many years.’
  • ‘It is also good weather for land being ploughed and seeded.’
  • ‘Soil can be seeded within monoculture grass, or trees can be planted widely apart so that they do not become roosts for mynas and starlings.’
  • ‘Every hill in sight, every plain, was seeded and overflowing with lush green crops and the workers busied themselves with their daily chores and share of the work.’
  • ‘The front and rear gardens will have top soil and will be seeded; a cobblelock driveway offers off-street parking.’
  • ‘In early spring, after winter-dormant fields have been tilled and seeded, farmers walk over their fields and look for signs of life.’
  • ‘Thirdly, bloom is delayed, compared to when it would have begun if you had seeded when you first cleared the ground.’
  1. 1.1 Sow (seed)
  • ‘Snow peas love cool weather and can be seeded into the ground at the last frost date.’
  • ‘Broccoli and cauliflower directly seeded in the garden have had their baby leaves completely eaten.’
  • ‘Three legumes were seeded in late February 1995 with a no-till drill.’
  • ‘Fluid seeding is a new technique being used to seed forage legumes.’
  • ‘Watercress may be seeded directly in very moist soil 1/4 ” deep.’
  • ‘Basil is seeded in the greenhouse in early to mid-March and grown in two-inch soil blocks.’
  • ‘Because it is less winter hardy than other grasses, perennial ryegrass is best seeded in combination with other grasses and legumes.’
  • ‘A plant that is seeded at the right depth in the right soil mix with the correct amounts of sunlight, air and water will resist insects and diseases.’
  • ‘While oats can be seeded anywhere from zero to three inches deep, be careful with the turnip seed.’
  • ‘When used as a winter cover crop or a green manure crop, it should be seeded in early September.’
  • ‘Most recommend that once you get close to or just past the suggested seeding date, the crop should be seeded as soon as possible.’
  • ‘Wheat was seeded between the corn rows in late September after the seed corn was harvested.’
  • ‘His impetus was seeded by an art teacher who believed art history began in 1960 with Vito Acconci, a New York-based experimental artist.’
  • ‘He still thinks about that, but his new experiences have seeded another idea: he thinks being a flight attendant would be great as he loves meeting people and travelling.’
  • ‘Often issues like this are seeded in something else, like alcohol or stress.’
  • ‘This has mainly been done by seeding the clouds with silver iodide, which greatly reduces the size of the hail.’
  • ‘Aeroplanes fly into the ‘right’ clouds and seed them to induce the supercooled water droplets to freeze and become tiny ice crystals which then fall as rain.’
  • ‘Weather Bureau researchers believed seeding a hurricane’s eye wall could reduce the storm’s intensity.’
  • ‘During the night it had started to rain because the county had seeded the clouds.’
  • ‘Naval pilots have been sent to seed the clouds in an effort to bring rain to ease the drought in parched provinces of northeast Thailand.’
  • ‘Each hurricane was seeded once a day for two days, for a total of eight attempts.’
  • ‘Each time the storm was seeded, sustained winds were reduced significantly.’
  • ‘During the night it had started to rain because the county had seeded the clouds.’
  • ‘In this mission, the Boeing was used to seed clouds in order to create rain.’

2 no object (of a plant) produce or drop seeds.

  • ‘They seed around a good deal, so new plants are always coming on to replace those that fade out.’
  1. 2.1 seed itself (of a plant) reproduce itself by means of its own seeds.
  • ‘In addition, this obliging plant seeds itself freely, so the number of clumps will gradually increase over the years.’
  • ‘If your area has been an old field that has grown and seeded itself for years, expect plenty of weed seeds in the soil.’
  • ‘My favourite night-bloomer is the evening primrose which seeds itself all over the garden, appearing as if by magic in dull corners which it brings to light with clumps of glorious bloom often as much as six feet high.’
  • ‘It grows and seeds itself rapidly under the right conditions.’
  • ‘Briza maxima has also seeded itself in this pot, adding height and movement as well as a contrasting colour as it fades from fresh green to pale brown.’

3 with object Remove the seeds from (vegetables or fruit)

  • ‘Peel the garlic and chop it finely, then seed and chop the chillies.’

4 with object Give (a competitor) the status of seed in a tournament.

  • ‘The Islanders are seeded 86th in the tournament and drew with Zimbabwe in the previous round.’
  • ‘For their part, the Czechs may not be the best people to ask about the advantages of being seeded for a major tournament.’
  • ‘On a positive side for other teams, if they know where they’re going to be seeded in the play-offs, they can rest some players and have a fresh first round.’
  • ‘He is seeded No 1 for this tournament and his action starts on Friday when he takes on the winner of the preliminary round between Bannister and Pearson at 12.45 pm.’
  • ‘Seven times in the past eight years, Duke has been seeded No.1 in the NCAA Tournament.’
  • ‘Russia’s Marat Safin was seeded second, while Andre Agassi was seeded No 3, one spot above his ranking.’
  • ‘He matched Chile’s Marcelo Rios and Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas as the only South Americans to be seeded so high here.’
  • ‘The world number two has played in four successive finals at Sportcity – winning two – and is seeded to meet rival Peter Nicol in the decider again this year.’
  • ‘The Extreme Rush contestants will be seeded in a tournament-style bracket and compete for $17,000 in bonuses.’
  • ‘Simutowe is seeded ahead of two international masters Watu Kobese of South Africa and Canadian Mark Schleifer.’
  • ‘The three athletes have all been seeded in their various heats.’
  • ‘Among the women, Lindsay Davenport was seeded No.1, followed by defending champion Maria Sharapova, Amelie Mauresmo and former two-time champion Serena Williams.’
  • ‘The 25-year-old Bryan brothers won the 2003 French Open title in their 21st major together and were seeded No.1.’
  • ‘Ranked No.1 in 2003, Clijsters is seeded just 14th after missing much of last year with a wrist injury.’


    go (or run) to seed

    1 (of a plant) cease flowering as the seeds develop.

    • ‘When the plant’s about to go to seed, the leaves become lacy and thread-like and they’re just too strong to eat.’
    • ‘In the fall, the milkweed plants have already gone to seed but the dried pods will still be attached to the plant.’
    • ‘Make sure to remove any flower heads, as this will stop any leaves from forming and the plant will go to seed.’
    • ‘This is something I have a hard time doing, but I am going to try to at least cut back the flowers before the pale-stemmed plants go to seed this year!’
    • ‘In contrast the flowers of European chives, which are purple, are never used, and the buds are picked off to stop the plant from going to seed.’
    • ‘He doesn’t particularly choose his varieties for hardiness either, but rather grows a number of brands, including those from his own garden plants gone to seed.’
    • ‘Roots are harvested in the fall when the tops have gone to seed and the plants have experienced a couple of hard frosts.’
    • ‘It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.’
    • ‘The plants were going to seed and had attracted a small convention of sparrows: savannah, song, swamp, white-throated, and chipping sparrows.’
    • ‘Be sure to harvest before the plant gets woody and goes to seed, which happens quickly in nice weather.’
    1. 1.1 Deteriorate, especially through neglect.


    Old English sǣd, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zaad, German Saat, also to the verb sow.

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    Or seeds

    Definition of seed (Entry 2 of 2)

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    Other Words from seed

    Synonyms for seed

    Do you cede or seed control?

    Cede means “to yield or grant typically by treaty.” Most of the verb senses of seed are concerned with planting seeds (either literal, as of plants, or figuratively, as of ideas). However, the word may also be used to mean “to schedule (tournament players or teams) so that superior ones will not meet in early rounds.” If you relinquish or yield something you are ceding it, and if you are organizing the participants in a tournament you are seeding them.

    Examples of seed in a Sentence

    Quotes–> Extra Examples–> a packet of sunflower seeds He planted the seeds three inches apart. She raked the grass seed into the soil. The top seed won the tournament. Our team is the number one seed. She is ranked as the third seed.

    Quotes–> Extra Examples–> We seeded the field with corn. These plants will seed late in the fall. After you wash and seed the peppers you can chop them.

    Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

    The webpage for the store details eight categories of products from cheese and dairy products to herbs, spices and seeds and meat and produce. — Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, “Katy to be home to Souq International Market,” 15 Sep. 2019 The toast’s built on vegan wheat bread and topped with thick avocado slices, herb vinaigrette, arugula, chia seeds and an optional egg. — Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, “Who needs guacamole? 10 great places that elevate avocado toast,” 13 Sep. 2019 Finally, for the from-within glow, bolster your diet with items like sardines, olive oil, flax seeds, and avocados that are rich in omega-3s and fatty acids to help replace natural fats lost in cold weather. — Jenna Rennert, Vogue, “Can You Prevent Dry Skin? 4 Expert Tips for Chilly Days Ahead,” 13 Sep. 2019 Civic Center branch: Trueque de Plantas/Plant Exchange, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Monday: A monthly exchange of plants, seeds and fruits. — Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, “What’s on: National City holds Summer Fiesta to mark birthday,” 12 Sep. 2019 Grow your own homages to everyone’s favorite straight-talkin’ seniors in one to two weeks with the help of chia seeds and water. — Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, “Golden Girls Chia Pets Exist, and You’ll Want All of Them,” 10 Sep. 2019 Nadal immediately broke back against the fifth seed and held serve comfortably while pressuring the Medvedev serve. — Ravi Ubha, CNN, “Nadal edges Medvedev to win fourth US Open and 19th major, only one behind Federer,” 9 Sep. 2019 Though Osaka was the No. 1 seed and Belinda Bencic No. — Christopher Clarey, New York Times, “Naomi Osaka Is Ousted From the U.S. Open by a Resurgent Belinda Bencic,” 2 Sep. 2019 Wang, who never had played in the fourth round at a major until Sunday, advanced by surprising No. 2 seed and reigning French Open champion Ash Barty 6-2, 6-4. — Howard Fendrich,, “Serena Williams holds on for US Open win despite twisting ankle; Roger Federer dominates,” 1 Sep. 2019

    Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

    Mow frequently to keep it from blooming and going to seed. — Neil Sperry,, “Mexican petunia: beautiful and determined to spread,” 13 Sep. 2019 One study found that consuming 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced a blood marker for inflammation by 40%. — Cynthia Sass, Mph,, “7 Chia Seed Benefits, According to a Nutritionist,” 27 Aug. 2019 August, the smart-lock startup, was purchased by Assa Abloy, the largest lock maker in the world, in late 2017, and the company has slowly been seeding its technology into all of its parent company’s other subsidiaries. — Mike Murphy, Quartz, “Apple is going to be the company that kills the wallet,” 17 Aug. 2019 The Royal Thai Air Force has deployed cloud-seeding planes. — The Economist, “Why are water levels of the Mekong at a 100-year low?,” 7 Aug. 2019 Regardless of which theory of cosmogenesis is correct, cosmologists believe that the density variations observed throughout the cosmos today were almost certainly seeded by random ripples in quantum fields that existed long ago. — Quanta Magazine, “A New Test for the Leading Big Bang Theory,” 11 Sep. 2018 The researchers altered the TREM2 gene in mice and seeded their brains with a little human tau. — Lauran Neergaard,, “Scientists rethink Alzheimer’s, diversifying the drug search,” 11 Sep. 2019 Malaysian authorities plan to conduct cloud-seeding activities to induce rain to ease the haze. — Washington Post, “Indonesian province shuts schools due to forest fire haze,” 11 Sep. 2019 So has South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose fundraising prowess is quietly seeding a crop of aides in Iowa and New Hampshire working out of far-flung offices and living in new small towns. — Philip Elliott, Time, “The September Democratic Debate is a Key Test for an Unsettled Field,” 11 Sep. 2019

    These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘seed.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

    First Known Use of seed

    before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

    before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2