Definition of “seed” - English Dictionary

“seed” in British English

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uk /siːd/ us /siːd/

seed noun (PLANT)

B2 [ C or U ] a small, round, or oval object produced by a plant and from which, when it is planted, a new plant can grow:

Sow the seeds (= put them in the ground) about three centimetres deep.
The chemical will stop all seeds from sprouting (= starting to grow).
The farmers grow these crops for seed (= for planting to grow more crops, rather than for eating).

[ U ] literary →  semen

go/run to seed

If a food plant goes or runs to seed, it produces flowers and seeds because it has not been picked early enough:

In hot weather lettuces can suddenly run to seed.

If a person or place goes or runs to seed, their physical appearance becomes worse because no one takes care of them:

After he retired, he really went to seed.

More examples

seed noun (SPORT)

[ C ] especially in tennis, a good player who is given a place on the list of those expected to win games in a particular competition because of the way they have played in the past:

Turner's opponent in the quarter-finals is the number one seed.


uk /siːd/ us /siːd/

seed verb (PLANT)

[ I or T ] to produce seeds:

The plants have seeded themselves (= their seeds have fallen) into the cracks between the paving stones.

[ T ] also deseed, to remove the seeds from a fruit or vegetable:

Wash, seed, and cut the pepper into small pieces.

seed verb (SPORT)

[ T usually passive ] to make a player a seed:

[ + adj ] Jones, seeded second, has won her last ten matches.

(Definition of “seed” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“seed” in American English

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us /sid/

seed noun (PLANT)

biology [ C/U ] a small, usually hard part of a plant from which a new plant can grow

seed noun (BEGINNING)

[ C usually pl ] the beginning or cause of something:

A good defense lawyer knows how to plant these little seeds of doubt in the minds of jurors.

seed noun (SPORTS)

[ C ] any of the players or teams ranked among the best in a particular competition

seedverb [ T ]

us /sid/

seed verb [ T ] (PLANT)

to plant seeds in the ground:

We seeded the lawn with a different grass this year.

(Definition of “seed” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“seed” in Business English

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seednoun [ U ]

uk /siːd/ us FINANCE

UK also seedcorn money used to start a new company, business, activity, etc. as an investment:

seed capital/funding/money The conference is aimed at entrepreneurs looking for seed capital for new business ventures.

seedverb [ T ]

uk /siːd/ us FINANCE

to provide money to start a new company, business, etc. as an investment:

The venture capital fund of $250 million will seed Chinese high-tech and biotechnology startup ventures.

(Definition of “seed” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)