fertile

adjective

fer·​tile ˈfər-tᵊl How to pronounce fertile (audio)
chiefly British
-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce fertile (audio)
1
a
: producing or bearing many crops in great quantities : productive
fertile fields of corn and oats
b
: characterized by great resourcefulness of thought or imagination : inventive
a fertile mind
c
obsolete : plentiful
2
a(1)
: capable of sustaining abundant plant growth
fertile soil
(2)
: affording abundant possibilities for growth or development
damp bathrooms are fertile ground for fungiConsumer Reports
a fertile area for research
b
: capable of growing or developing
a fertile egg
c(1)
: capable of producing fruit
fertile trees
(2)
of an anther : containing pollen
(3)
: developing spores or spore-bearing organs
d
: capable of breeding or reproducing
3
: capable of being converted into fissionable material
fertile uranium 238
fertilely adverb
fertileness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for fertile

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 fertile in a Sentence

an area that is a fertile breeding ground for political extremism This subject remains a fertile field for additional investigation. He has a fertile mind.
Recent Examples on the Web Menstruating athletes: Iron needs are elevated for women during their fertile years. Sarah Anzlovar, Ms, Rd, Verywell Health, 4 June 2024 In recent years, the U.K. stock market has appeared to be a fertile hunting ground for short sellers. Byryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 4 June 2024 One day, while collecting fruit in the forest, she’s snatched away by a group of grimy bikers who, to their cretinous delight, have stumbled upon this shockingly fertile paradise. Stephanie Zacharek, TIME, 15 May 2024 Republicans may have the more fertile field, but that was also true in 2022. Philip Elliott, TIME, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for fertile 

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin fertilis, from ferre to carry, bear — more at bear

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near fertile

Cite this Entry

“Fertile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertile. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

fertile

adjective
fer·​tile ˈfərt-ᵊl How to pronounce fertile (audio)
1
: producing vegetation or crops plentifully : rich
fertile farmland
2
: producing thoughts and ideas abundantly
a fertile mind
3
a
: capable of growing and developing
a fertile seed
b
: capable of reproducing or of producing reproductive cells
a fertile bull
fertile fungal hyphae
fertility
(ˌ)fər-ˈtil-ət-ē
noun
Etymology

Middle English fertile "bearing in abundance, productive," from early French fertile and Latin fertilis (both same meaning), from Latin ferre "to bear, carry, yield, produce" — related to defer entry 1, transfer

Medical Definition

fertile

adjective
fer·​tile
ˈfərt-ᵊl, chiefly British ˈfər-ˌtīl
1
: capable of growing or developing
fertile egg
2
: developing spores or spore-bearing organs
3
a
: capable of breeding or reproducing
b
of an estrous cycle : marked by the production of one or more viable eggs

More from Merriam-Webster on fertile

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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