Share this entry

seminal Syllabification: sem·i·nal
Pronunciation: /ˈsemənl/

Definition of seminal in English:


1(Of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments: his seminal work on chaos theory
More example sentences
  • The artist has had a seminal influence on the development of modern Irish music, since he first hit the scene in Dublin in the 1960s.
  • In 1870 he produced a seminal volume that would influence generations of garden-makers throughout the world.
  • The rugged brick and timber house he designed for his family on a sloping bush site in Chatswood in 1963 was a seminal work that greatly influenced the development of the Sydney School.
2Of, relating to, or denoting semen.
Example sentences
  • The seminal plasma of mammals is a complex fluid, which serves as a carrier for the spermatozoa in their journey from the male testes to their target, the female uterus.
  • The seminal plasma of mammals contains a group of acidic proteins that bind to the spermatozoa.
  • At the same time the seminal vesicles and prostate gland contract and release seminal fluid into the urethra.
2.1 Botany Of, relating to, or derived from the seed of a plant.
Example sentences
  • Upon the death of the seminal root the plant fragments into several independent stolon systems and begins the clonal stage of its life cycle.
  • In the uniform exodermis of seminal roots of Zea mays, intact plasmodesmata were found even in exodermal cells where the walls were suberized.
  • Seminal roots do not form a coleorhiza since the scutellar node tissue is already differentiated when seminal roots emerge and can easily be penetrated.


Late Middle English (sense 2): from Old French seminal or Latin seminalis, from semen 'seed'. sense 1 dates from the mid 17th century.



Example sentences
  • That would place a wholly new perspective on Indian policies in South Asia, no less than the doctrine threatening to seminally reshape U.S. foreign policy.
  • This was spurred on by many magazine articles of the time, most seminally a December 1959 True magazine article describing the discovery of large, mysterious footprints the year before in Bluff Creek, California.
  • A person, it appeared, could pick and choose between several possible explanations; St. Augustine shouted of the ‘The Fall’ and our need for punishment for being seminally present in Adam.

Definition of seminal in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...