Definition of germinate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈjərməˌnāt/


[no object]
Image of germinate
1(Of a seed or spore) begin to grow and put out shoots after a period of dormancy.
Example sentences
  • Breakdown takes place after a period of rest when seeds germinate and seedlings start growing.
  • Dashed segments of the line indicate where viable seeds do not germinate at low temperatures.
  • When contaminated seeds are planted, bunt spores germinate in the presence of moisture and infect the wheat seedlings.
sprout, shoot (up), bud;
develop, grow, spring up
dated vegetate
1.1 [with object] Cause (a seed or spore) to germinate.
Example sentences
  • Mrs Perry said pumpkins did not take much work and her daughter had her own greenhouse and had germinated the seeds herself.
  • Although windowsills are good places to germinate seeds, they do have some drawbacks.
  • One of the ideas was to use empty yoghurt pots to germinate seeds.
1.2Come into existence and develop: the idea germinated and slowly grew into an obsession
More example sentences
  • These are tools for helping communities to germinate, develop and extend themselves.
  • The idea for Gubu Nation - a collection of more than 50 uniquely Irish tales during the country's development - germinated during this time.
  • Through a combination of her determination and solid common sense, the club was fully operational within a few months of the idea germinating.
develop, take root, grow, incubate, emerge, evolve, mature, expand, advance, progress



Pronunciation: /-nəbəl/
Example sentences
  • An estimated 87% of dry-stored seeds were germinable for six months following dispersal, but viability of dry-stored and of buried seeds was negligible after one year.
  • Soil collected prior to flowering did not contain germinable seed suggesting an annual dormancy/nondormancy cycle in which seed failing to germinate in the Spring become dormant again.
  • At Dixon Springs, the germinable seed bank was estimated from soil samples collected in Fall 1999 before flowering, and in the subsequent spring.


Pronunciation: /ˈjərməˌnādiv/
Example sentences
  • When highly viable (96% germinative capacity) fresh seeds were incubated in water at a range of constant temperatures, none germinated at 10°C.
  • Dormancy is the inability of the viable seed to commence germinative growth even when environmental conditions are physiologically favourable.
  • This terminal phase of seed development, called maturation drying, is also known to ensure the switch from a developmental mode to a germinative mode.


Pronunciation: /-ˌnātər/
Example sentences
  • This independence has allowed universities across the generations to be the germinators of creativity, reform and innovation.
  • These seeds were not induced into secondary dormancy and are classed as germinators.
  • The studios cultivated their Gables and Garbos not primarily as acting talents (though some, of course, could act) but as cynosures, publicity garnerers, dream germinators.


Late 16th century: from Latin germinat- 'sprouted forth, budded', from the verb germinare, from germen, germin- 'sprout, seed'.

Words that rhyme with germinate

exterminate, terminate, verminate

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ger·mi·nate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.