‘Deep-Seated' or 'Deep-Seeded': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 3, 2023

'Deep-seated' or 'deep-seeded': which one should you use? These two often get confused, but are they interchangeable? What do they mean?

The short version is that 'deep-seated' is the correct word. 'Deep-seeded' is incorrect.

What's the Difference Between 'Deep-Seated' or 'Deep-Seeded'?

The difference between 'deep-seated' and 'deep-seeded' is quite simply that one is correct and the other isn't.

'Deep-seeded' doesn't mean anything. You should always use 'deep-seated.' But what does it mean? Let's find out.

What Does 'Deep-Seated' Mean?

When something is deep-seated, it means it's firmly established. A belief can be deep-seated—so can a tradition, your faith, or a quality you display, such as loyalty.

If your loyalty is deep-seated, this means it would be challenging to convince you to be disloyal because you hold loyalty as a firm and important value.

'Deep-seated' is an adjective, and it has a figurative meaning. But let's think about it literally for a moment: if a chair has a deep seat, it's hard to get out of. You're comfortable in your deep seat that holds your backside and perhaps even most of your legs. Why would you want to move?

It's the same thing with a deep-seated belief or behavior. It's comfortable, you like it, and you don't want to move.

Etymonline tells us that the adjective's figurative use became prominent after 1847.

So if you think about it, it's understandable that people confuse 'deep-seated' with 'deep-seeded' since a seed buried deep in the ground would also be difficult to remove. It's just unfortunate that the words 'seated' and 'seeded' sound so alike and that they both could fit the bill for this figurative adjective.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Deep-Seated'

Okay, so you get the meaning of the term. But how should you pronounce it? Let's find out.

The International Phonetics Alphabet spells it like this:

/ ˈdipˈsi tɪd /

And I think it sounds like this when said out loud:

[ deep-see-tid ]

When to Use 'Deep-Seated'

Let's take a look at some examples that use the word in context, so you can better understand how and when you can use it.

I'm hoping that his deep-seated optimism will help get him through this tough time.

This investigation has revealed deep-seated issues in society that need to be resolved.

Her deep-seated dedication to her studies has done wonders for her rapport with the academic staff.

I'm under no illusion that deep-seated prejudices are at the root of the problem.

He displayed a deep-seated enthusiasm for the arts.

We observed some deep-seated traditions that have been upheld for centuries.

Whereas in some cultures, they celebrate it, in Western civilization, we have a deep-seated and irrational fear of death.

Dogs are born with a deep-seated sense of loyalty; they'll be in your corner no matter what.

Counseling can help you unearth deep-seated beliefs and behaviors you didn't even know existed.

This reveals a deep-seated mistrust of people.

Concluding Thoughts on 'Deep-Seated' or 'Deep-Seeded'

So there you have it; you now know the correct expression to use and how and when to use it. To summarize:

  • Always use 'deep-seated'
  • 'Deep-seeded' is incorrect
  • Something deep-seated is firmly ingrained in you and challenging to move away from

And if you'd like to learn about more confusing words and phrases, head over to our blog.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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