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Seminal refers to a work, an event, a person or idea that proves to be a strong influence on later developments. A seminal idea, book, leader, etc., is the earliest, primary driving force that is often not recognized as such until a later point in time.  Seminal is an adjective, it comes from the Latin word seminis, meaning a seed. From the seventeenth century, seminal has meant full of possibilities in the figurative sense. According to Google Ngram, use of the word seminal has steadily risen since the 1940s.

Seminal also means of or relating to semen. Related words are seminally and seminality.


One of those utilities, Houston-based Calpine, called Monday’s announcement “a seminal moment for the power generation industry.” (The Texas Tribune)

Most tragically, there’s still no Goldeneye 007, Rare’s seminal N64 first person shooter that dominated childhoods the world over. (Forbes)

Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham said this race debate signalled “a seminal moment in our history, perhaps a moment this nation needed to have.” (The Daily Telegraph)

It is a warm, affectionate memoir of Glass’s personal and musical journey, from growing up in a musical Jewish family in Baltimore to studying at the University of Chicago and then the Juilliard School, in New York, to writing and staging such seminal works as Music in Twelve Parts, Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, and composing soundtracks for such films as Koyaanisqatsi, Mishima and Scorsese’s Kundun. (The Irish Times)

The definitive retrospective monograph of the crossover artist-photographer features his seminal works along with behind-the-scenes documentation of his work in Paris and New York. (Vogue India)

A Port Jervis man accused of throwing seminal fluids at female customers at a Middletown shopping plaza has been indicted on multiple charges by an Orange County grand jury, including felony-level criminal mischief as a hate crime. (The Times Herald-Record)


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