Go to seed

Go to seed is an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. We will examine the meaning of the idiom go to seed, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To go to seed means to deteriorate, to become shabby or shop-worn, to become unhealthy or unattractive due to inattention. Related phrases are goes to seed, gone to seed, going to seed, went to seed. The expression go to seed was first used in a literal sense to describe a plant that has become neglected or is at the end of its life cycle, when it produces seeds and then dies. The phrase go to seed to describe a person, item, or organization that has deteriorated due to inattention came into used in the latter-1700s. The phrase is sometimes rendered as run to seed.

Examples

He can hold in his mind the fact that he is going to seed, but hold it apart, make of it a fog-enshrouded islet many miles offshore of the continent of what he consciously knows. (GQ Magazine)

Tucker has gone to seed in the intervening six years, haunted by his failure to catch The Brit (Luke Goss) with the goods. (The HOllywood Reporter)

I’m dealing with all kinds of situations that you can imagine happening in south Alabama where the neighborhood has gone to seed. (The Cleveland Magazine)