One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1no object To germinate early or before another plant; to begin the process of germination. rare before 20th cent.
2with object To induce the process of germination in (seed), especially before it is planted.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Henry Cockeram (fl. 1623–1658), lexicographer. Originally from classical Latin praegermināt-, past participial stem of praegermināre to sprout early from prae- + germināre. In later use from pre- + germinate.
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