fer·​tile | \ˈfər-tᵊl, chiefly British -ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of fertile 

1a : 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

2a(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

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Other Words from fertile

fertilely \ˈfər-​tᵊl-​(l)ē \ adverb
fertileness \ˈfər-​tᵊl-​nəs \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

White will attempt to mold Texas into something reminiscent of his Oregon teams, while also taking advantage of the school’s ample resources and the state’s fertile recruiting scene. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "White, Longhorns hope team up leads to CWS title," 27 June 2018 Apparently bugs are a regular feature of the Volgograd summer, due to warm air and fertile breeding grounds in the Volga River. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "The Bugs of Volgograd: England-Tunisia Match Attracts Pests," 18 June 2018 Biosolids are left over at a treatment plant after bacteria decomposes human waste into sludge fertile with nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Rare Florida jewel, Blue Cypress Lake, sickens with pollution," 11 Apr. 2018 Similar currents have found fertile ground in Eastern Europe. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Macron Sounds Warning on Nationalism as Leaders Mark Armistice Day," 11 Nov. 2018 South Carolina has become a fertile testing ground for new policies that can help babies have a better start to life. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Sit in a circle. Talk to other pregnant women. Save your baby’s life?," 2 Nov. 2018 But even though the season ended with a note of finality, all the plot momentum in the last episode also means that there’s no shortage of fertile ground for the show’s second season to explore. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 2: Questions We Need to Be Answered After That Finale," 26 Oct. 2018 Police have come to recognize the fertile hunting ground of social media and are covertly surveilling people and groups there with little oversight. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How China complicates Apple’s chest-thumping about privacy," 25 Oct. 2018 Still, the Atlantic Coast is seen as fertile ground for an expanding offshore wind industry, as the coastal area is near huge population centers with strong, reliable ocean breezes. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "European offshore wind giant buys US’ most successful offshore wind company," 8 Oct. 2018

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

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First Known Use of fertile

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

History and Etymology for fertile

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

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Statistics for fertile

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fertile

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

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More Definitions for fertile



English Language Learners Definition of fertile

: producing many plants or crops : able to support the growth of many plants

: producing a large amount of something

: producing many ideas


fer·​tile | \ˈfər-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of fertile

1 : producing many plants or crops fertile fields

2 : producing many ideas a fertile mind

3 : capable of developing and growing a fertile egg


fer·​tile | \ˈfərt-ᵊl, chiefly British ˈfər-ˌtīl\

Medical Definition of fertile 

1 : capable of growing or developing fertile egg

2 : developing spores or spore-bearing organs

3a : capable of breeding or reproducing

b of an estrous cycle : marked by the production of one or more viable eggs

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More from Merriam-Webster on fertile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fertile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fertile

Spanish Central: Translation of fertile

Nglish: Translation of fertile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fertile for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fertile

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


having a pattern of small flowers

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