c. 1600, "to scatter or sow for propagation," from Latin disseminatus, past participle of disseminare "to spread abroad, disseminate," from dis- "in every direction" (see dis-) + seminare "to plant, propagate," from semen (genitive seminis) "seed" (from PIE root *sē- "to sow"). Figurative sense of "to spread by diffusion (teaching, opinion, error, etc.) with reference to some intended result" is by 1640s. Related: Disseminated; disseminates; disseminating. Middle English had dissemen "to scatter" (early 15c.).