eutrophication

noun
eu·​tro·​phi·​ca·​tion | \yü-ˌtrō-fə-ˈkā-shən, ˌyü-trə-fə-\

Definition of eutrophication 

: the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (such as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen

Keep scrolling for more

Eutrophication Has Greek Roots

Eutrophication, which comes from the Greek eutrophos, "well-nourished", has become a major environmental problem. Nitrates and phosphates, especially from lawn fertilizers, run off the land into rivers and lakes, promoting the growth of algae and other plant life, which take oxygen from the water, causing the death of fish and mollusks. Cow manure, agricultural fertilizer, detergents, and human waste are often to blame as well. In the 1960s and '70s, the eutrophication of Lake Erie advanced so extremely that it became known as the "dead lake". And many areas of the oceans worldwide—some more than 20,000 square miles in extent—have become "dead zones", where almost no life of any kind exists.

Examples of eutrophication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The decay process of algae uses up the oxygen in a process called eutrophication, Levin said. Sydney Pereira, Newsweek, "Oxygen Is Disappearing From the World's Oceans at an Alarmingly Rapid Pace," 5 Jan. 2018 If the phytoplankton blooms are too large, this can lead to eutrophication, when oxygen is lost from the water and kills marine life. Elizabeth Howell Space.com Contributor, Fox News, "Tiny organisms turn the Black Sea turquoise in amazing NASA picture," 15 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eutrophication.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of eutrophication

1946, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about eutrophication

Share eutrophication

Dictionary Entries near eutrophication

Eutracheata

Eutrombicula

eutrophic

eutrophication

Eutychian

euxenite

Euxine

Statistics for eutrophication

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eutrophication

The first known use of eutrophication was in 1946

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on eutrophication

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eutrophication

Comments on eutrophication

What made you want to look up eutrophication? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!