One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A reproductive element, especially a seed or embryo; the rudiment of an organism, capable of developing into a new one. Chiefly figurative and in figurative contexts.
2Figurative. An initial stage or state from which something may develop; a source, a beginning.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Shakespeare (1564–1616), playwright and poet. From classical Latin germin-, germen germ, in scientific Latin also in sense 3 (Linnaeus Genera plantarum Introd. sig. **).
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