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    #1

    go to seed, run to seed

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?

    A fine Administrator who lets our national property go to seed! (S. Heym, “The Eyes of Reason”)

    go to seed = be neglectful of

    “I remember hearing that old Alfred had married a girl whose people came over with the Conqueror.” Lydia smiled. She said: “I believe they did. But they’ve rather run to seed since those days.” (A. Christie, “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas”)

    run to seed = be on the decline

    V.

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    #2

    Re: go to seed, run to seed

    Yes, though I would say that there's also the idea that they have neglected things or allowed the decline to take place.

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    #3

    not a teacher

    I've never heard "run to seed", always "go to seed", used to mean "deteriorate/decline".

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    #4

    Re: go to seed, run to seed

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    A fine Administrator who lets our national property go to seed! (S. Heym, “The Eyes of Reason”)

    go to seed = be neglectful of ......No

    It is the property that is going to seed, not the Administrator. So, it means 'become less attractive, decline, become run-down'.
    .
    5

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Vidor View Post
    I've never heard "run to seed", always "go to seed", used to mean "deteriorate/decline".
    BNC has 11 examples of 'go to seed', 4 of 'run to seed', confirming my personal belief that both are possible in BrE, but that 'go' is more common.

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    #6

    Re: go to seed, run to seed

    I believe this comes from the world of gardening. If plants are ignored and not tended, they literally 'go to seed'. The garden then loses that maintained look and appears to be neglected.

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