run to seed

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run to seed

To look shabby, unhealthy, or unattractive due to a lack of care or attention. Wow, Tim's really started running to seed ever since he had kids. The house has run to seed with those college kids living there.
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run to seed

Also, go to seed. Become devitalized or worn out; deteriorate, as in I went back to visit my old elementary school, and sadly, it has really run to seed, or The gold medalist quickly went to seed after he left competition. This term alludes to plants that, when allowed to set seed after flowering, either taste bitter, as in the case of lettuce, or do not send out new buds, as is true of annual flowers. Its figurative use dates from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: run, seed

go/run to ˈseed

(informal) (of a person) become untidy or dirty because you no longer care about your appearance, etc: I was very surprised when I saw her. She has really run to seed in the last few months.This idiom refers to the fact that when the flower in a plant dies, seeds are produced.
See also: go, run, seed

run to seed, to

To become old and decrepit. Plants that are allowed to set seed after flowering either become bitter to the taste (lettuce) or will not bloom as well the following year (daffodils, tulips). Henry Fielding used the term figuratively in an essay of 1740: “For Virtue itself by growing too exuberant and . . . by running to seed changes its very nature.”
See also: run
References in periodicals archive ?
Ornamental kales, which have shaggier leaves, are also widely available at this time of year and can remain colourful throughout winter, running to seed in early spring.
Grub out groundsel and chickweed before flowering to prevent them running to seed.
What better than a young woman in full bloom to come and help a chap who is running to seed? She can even have the back bedroom for the duration.
Spinach grows best in cool spring conditions but must always be kept moist, the plants running to seed prematurely if allowed to dry out.
By bringing on the growth of sets (small bulbs) in hot conditions before actual planting, suppliers ensure they establish very quickly, which means not only higher yields but less chance of them running to seed. The process takes months, so they're not usually available until early April.
Also deadhead roses to prevent them running to seed.