Seed, when used in rankings and placement in tournaments, first started with tennis.
One source suggests the rankings come from the word ‘conceded,’ as in, the team/player is conceded, or assumed, to be the best. Casual usage led to ‘ceded’ which then led to the use of the word ‘seed.’As far as placement in tournaments, sources say seeding is similar to gardening when you ‘plant’ something in a specific spot. In sports tournaments, organizers do not want the best players/teams knocked out in early rounds, so they ‘seed’ the best players/teams across the various legs to avoid that outcome.
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