fe·​cund ˈfe-kənd How to pronounce fecund (audio) ˈfē- How to pronounce fecund (audio)
: fruitful in offspring or vegetation : prolific
a fecund breed of cattle
: intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree
a fecund imagination
a fecund source of information
fecundity noun

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Fecund and its synonyms fruitful and fertile all mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit, literally or figuratively. Fecund applies to things that yield offspring, fruit, or results in abundance or with rapidity ("a fecund herd," "a fecund imagination"). Fruitful emphasizes abundance, too, and often adds the implication that the results attained are desirable or useful ("fruitful plains," "a fruitful discussion"). Fertile implies the power to reproduce ("a fertile egg") or the power to assist in reproduction, growth, or development ("fertile soil," "a fertile climate for artists").

Choose the Right Synonym for fecund

fertile, fecund, fruitful, prolific mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit.

fertile implies the power to reproduce in kind or to assist in reproduction and growth

fertile soil

; applied figuratively, it suggests readiness of invention and development.

a fertile imagination

fecund emphasizes abundance or rapidity in bearing fruit or offspring.

a fecund herd

fruitful adds to fertile and fecund the implication of desirable or useful results.

fruitful research

prolific stresses rapidity of spreading or multiplying by or as if by natural reproduction.

a prolific writer

Examples of fecund in a Sentence

a fecund breed of cattle the Franklin stove, bifocals, and the lightning rod are just a few of the inventions that we owe to the fecund creativity of Benjamin Franklin
Recent Examples on the Web Others omit her altogether, capturing the natural realm unblemished by human presence, a fecund environment dotted with snakes and birds and fungi. Ana Karina Zatarain, The New Yorker, 24 Feb. 2024 Granting all perturbation and backsliding, generous lives had been lived on that fecund soil, and a generous spirit inhered in it. Marilynne Robinson, The New York Review of Books, 12 Oct. 2023 This also happened to be one of the most creatively fecund periods in the city’s history. Ned Resnikoff, The New Republic, 2 Sep. 2023 Older females were significantly less fecund than young mature females, and were not more fecund than subadult females. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 28 Feb. 2018 State officials say their own surveys put the figure at 0.89, a rate just above that of South Korea, the least fecund nation in the world. Sameer Yasir, New York Times, 29 May 2023 Sen worked in what was an extraordinarily fecund period for Bengali-language cinema, based in the eastern Indian film stronghold Calcutta (now Kolkata). Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 13 May 2023 There have been dozens more slamming the bureau for various transgressions, most of them figments of the fecund presidential imagination. Robert G. Kaiser, The New York Review of Books, 27 Feb. 2020 For example, France in the early 19th century was characterized by a situation of highly fecund Catholic immigrants arriving to reinforce the conservative Catholic faction among the native-born. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 21 Oct. 2010

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fecund.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin fecundus — more at feminine

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fecund was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fecund

Cite this Entry

“Fecund.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fecund. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: producing many offspring or much vegetation : prolific
: mentally productive or inventive
fecundity noun

Medical Definition


fe·​cund ˈfek-ənd How to pronounce fecund (audio) ˈfēk- How to pronounce fecund (audio)
: characterized by having produced many offspring
: capable of producing : not sterile or barren
fecundity noun
plural fecundities

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