germinate

To germinate is to grow or to develop. When a tiny seedling cracks through a seed casing and sprouts, it has germinated. The term is used for other things too, like when an idea germinates into a film or book.

Sometimes you want things to germinate, like the heirloom tomato seeds in your backyard garden. Sometimes what germinates is not desirable — like how joblessness, economic problems, and generations of anti-Semitism provided a fertile ground for Nazism to germinate in pre-war Germany. The word's roots are in botany, but it has grown, or dare we say germinated, to be used for any time something grows and develops.

Definitions of germinate
  1. verb
    produce buds, branches, or germinate
    synonyms: bourgeon, burgeon forth, pullulate, shoot, sprout, spud
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    type of:
    grow
    increase in size by natural process
  2. verb
    cause to grow or sprout
    “the plentiful rain germinated my plants”
    Synonyms:
    bourgeon, burgeon forth, pullulate, shoot, sprout, spud
    produce buds, branches, or germinate
    see moresee less
    type of:
    grow
    cause to grow or develop
  3. verb
    work out
    synonyms: develop, evolve
    develop
    make something new, such as a product or a mental or artistic creation
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    type of:
    create by mental act, create mentally
    create mentally and abstractly rather than with one's hands
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