Old English sed, sæd "that which may be sown; an individual grain of seed; offspring, posterity," from Proto-Germanic *sediz "seed" (source also of Old Norse sað, Old Saxon sad, Old Frisian sed, Middle Dutch saet, Old High German sat, German Saat), from PIE *se-ti- "sowing," from root *se- (1) "to sow" (see sow (v.)). Figurative use in Old English. Meaning "offspring, progeny" rare now except in biblical use. Meaning "semen" is from c. 1300. For sporting sense, see seed (v.).
late 14c., "to flower, flourish; produce seed;" mid-15c., "to sow with seed," from seed (n.). Meaning "remove the seeds from" is from 1904. Sporting (originally tennis) sense (1898) is from notion of spreading certain players' names so as to ensure they will not meet early in a tournament. The noun in this sense is attested from 1924. Related: Seeded; seeding.
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