AskDefine | Define semen

Dictionary Definition

semen n : the thick white fluid containing spermatozoa that is ejaculated by the male genital tract [syn: seed, seminal fluid, ejaculate, cum]

User Contributed Dictionary





From semen


  1. The fluid, produced in male reproductive organs of an animal, that contains the reproductive cells.


  • Arabic: (máni)
  • Chinese: 精液 (jīngyè)
  • Estonian: seemnevedelik, sperma
  • Finnish: siemenneste, sperma
  • French: semence, sperme
  • German: Samen
  • Greek: σπέρμα
  • Icelandic: sæði, sáð, sáðvökvi
  • Marathi: रेत
  • Norwegian: sæd
  • Persian: (mani)
  • Polish: sperma
  • Portuguese: sêmen
  • Romanian: spermă
  • Russian: семя
  • Spanish: semen
  • Swedish: sädesvätska



  1. seed (of plants)
    Semen manu spargere.
    To scatter seed by hand.
  2. semen
  3. graft
  4. offspring
  5. cause
  6. seed (of the elements of other bodies (of fire, water, stones, etc.))

Extensive Definition

Semen is an organic fluid (also known as seminal fluid) that usually contains spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads (sexual glands) and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals for fertilization of female ova. The process of discharge is called ejaculation.

Physiological aspects

Internal and external fertilization

Depending on the species, spermatozoa can fertilize ova externally or internally. In external fertilization, the spermatozoa fertilize the ova directly, outside of the female's sexual organs. Female fish, for example, spawn ova into their aquatic environment, where they are fertilized by the semen of the male fish.
During internal fertilization, however, fertilization occurs inside the female's sexual organs. Internal fertilization takes place after insemination of a female by a male through copulation. In low vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds and monotreme mammals), copulation is achieved through the physical mating of the cloaca of the male and female. In marsupial and placental mammals, copulation occurs through the vagina.

Composition of human semen

The components of semen come from two sources: sperm, and "seminal plasma". Seminal plasma, in turn, is produced by contributions from the seminal vesicle, prostate, and bulbourethral glands.
Seminal plasma of humans contains a complex range of organic and inorganic constituents.
The seminal plasma provides a nutritive and protective medium for the spermatozoa during their journey through the female reproductive tract. The normal environment of the vagina is a hostile one for sperm cells, as it is very acidic (from the native microflora producing lactic acid), viscous, and patrolled by immune cells. The components in the seminal plasma attempt to compensate for this hostile environment. Basic amines such as putrescine, spermine, spermidine and cadaverine are responsible for the smell and flavor of semen. These alkaline bases counteract the acidic environment of the vaginal canal, and protect DNA inside the sperm from acidic denaturation.
The components and contributions of semen are as follows:
semen in Afrikaans: Semen
semen in Arabic: سائل منوي
semen in Belarusian: Сперма
semen in Bosnian: Sperma
semen in Bulgarian: Сперма
semen in Catalan: Esperma
semen in Chuvash: Йăртта
semen in Czech: Ejakulát
semen in Welsh: Semen
semen in Danish: Sæd
semen in German: Sperma
semen in Spanish: Semen
semen in Esperanto: Spermo
semen in Persian: منی
semen in French: Sperme
semen in Korean: 정자 (생물)
semen in Croatian: Ejakulat
semen in Iloko: Kapsit
semen in Indonesian: Air mani
semen in Italian: Sperma
semen in Kurdish: Sperma
semen in Latin: Eiaculatum
semen in Lithuanian: Sperma
semen in Malay (macrolanguage): Air mani
semen in Dutch: Sperma
semen in Japanese: 精液
semen in Norwegian: Sperma
semen in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sæd
semen in Polish: Sperma
semen in Portuguese: Sémen
semen in Russian: Сперма
semen in Simple English: Semen
semen in Sundanese: Mani
semen in Finnish: Siemenneste
semen in Swedish: Sädesvätska
semen in Thai: น้ำอสุจิ
semen in Vietnamese: Tinh dịch
semen in Turkish: Meni
semen in Yiddish: זרע
semen in Chinese: 精液

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

androcyte, antheridium, antherozoid, autacoid, bile, chalone, digestive secretion, endocrine, gall, gastric juice, hormone, intestinal juice, male gamete, milt, mucus, pancreatic juice, pollen, prostatic fluid, protein, rheum, salivary secretion, scum, seed, seminal fluid, sperm, sperm cell, spermagonium, spermatic fluid, spermatid, spermatiophore, spermatium, spermatocyte, spermatogonium, spermatophore, spermatozoa, spermatozoid, spermatozoon, tears, thyroxin
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