mid-15c., "plot where plants are raised from seeds for transplantation," from Latin seminarium "plant nursery, seed plot," figuratively, "breeding ground," a noun from seminarius "of or pertaining to seed," from semen (genitive seminis) "seed" (from PIE root *sē- "to sow").
The literal sense now is obsolete; the figurative meaning "place of origin and early development" is from 1590s. The meaning "school for training priests" is recorded from 1580s; the word was used generally in names of places of education (especially academies for young ladies) from 1580s to 1930s. Related: Seminarial.
updated on April 28, 2022