late 14c., "of or pertaining to seed or semen, of the elements of reproduction," from Old French seminal (14c.) and directly from Latin seminalis "of or belonging to seed; good for seed," from semen (genitive seminis) "seed" (from PIE root *sē- "to sow"). Figurative sense ("having the properties of a seed") is attested by 1630s, "rudimentary, primary; full of possibilities." Related: Seminally; seminality.
updated on May 24, 2022