AskDefine | Define seminar

Dictionary Definition



1 any meeting for an exchange of ideas
2 a course offered for a small group of advanced students

User Contributed Dictionary



From the latin root semen, meaning seed.


  1. A class held for advanced studies in which students meet regularly to discuss original research, under the guidance of a professor.
  2. A meeting held for the exchange of useful information by members of a common business community.

Related terms


Extensive Definition

Seminar is, generally, a form of academic instruction, either at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone present is requested to actively participate. This is often accomplished through an ongoing Socratic dialogue with a seminar leader or instructor, or through a more formal presentation of research. Normally, participants must not be beginners in the field under discussion (at US universities, seminar classes are generally reserved for upper-year students, although at UK and Australian universities seminars are often used for all years). The idea behind the seminar system is to familiarise students more extensively with the methodology of their chosen subject and also to allow them to interact with examples of the practical problems that always crop up during research work. It is essentially a place where assigned readings are discussed, questions can be raised and debates conducted. It is relatively informal, at least compared to the lecture system of academic instruction.
In some European universities, a seminar may be a large lecture course, especially when conducted by a renowned thinker (regardless of the size of the audience or the scope of student participation in discussion).

Origins of the word

A seminar although similar to a presentation is an entirely different thing. The word seminar is derived from the Latin word seminarium, meaning "seed plot."

See also

seminar in Bulgarian: Семинар
seminar in German: Seminar
seminar in Spanish: seminario
seminar in Finnish: Seminaari
seminar in Indonesian: Seminar
seminar in Japanese: ゼミナール
seminar in Russian: Семинар
seminar in Swedish: Seminarium
seminar in Thai: การสัมมนา
seminar in Chinese: 講座

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

academic specialty, airing, analysis, area, buzz session, canvassing, classical education, colloquium, colloquy, conference, consideration, core curriculum, course, course of study, curriculum, debate, debating, deliberation, dialectic, dialogue, discipline, discussion, elective, examination, exchange of views, field, forum, general education, general studies, humanities, investigation, joint discussion, liberal arts, logical analysis, logical discussion, major, minor, open discussion, open forum, palaver, panel discussion, proseminar, quadrivium, rap, rap session, refresher course, review, scientific education, specialty, study, subdiscipline, subject, symposium, technical education, town meeting, treatment, trivium, ventilation
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