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

For example, what might have happened to a fertile woman who served once in American intelligence services or as an officer in our armed forces, trained to be a killing machine, who was too stubborn or too dangerous to be a handmaid? Rena Gross, Billboard, "12 Big Revelations From 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 7," 30 May 2018 The city’s subtropical climate, mild winters and fertile soil gives it the perfect growing conditions for the red berries. Ellie Rushing, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Florida towns' claims to fame: We're No. 1," 3 July 2018 At this line the arid West begins with startling consistency, the tall prairie grass cedes to short grass and less fertile soils. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 River sand, pump sand, batture sand and spillway sand are all fertile, alluvial soils with a slightly alkaline pH. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "What is the optimal soil pH level for New Orleans lawns?," 25 May 2018 The ongoing eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island this month is a potent reminder of what can happen when people choose to live near or on volcanoes, drawn by their fertile soil and breathtaking scenery. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Volcanoes are awe-inspiring. Here are 7 things to know about them.," 11 May 2018 For a charismatic evangelist like Sister [Aimee] McPherson, Los Angeles in the late 1910s offered particularly fertile ground. Gary Krist, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why a Legendary East Coast Evangelist Chose Los Angeles for Her Pentecostal Empire," 7 May 2018 Pennsylvania has proved particularly fertile ground for sourcing, Patel said. Allison Steele, Philly.com, "Foraging for cheese, candy, even shoofly pie," 24 Apr. 2018 Under this model, trees are threaded through crops, helping shade cocoa plants while also doing less harm to biodiversity and keeping the soil fertile for longer. Tim Cocks And Ange Aboa, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ivory Coast, chocolate giants team up to make cocoa production more sustainable," 19 Apr. 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

8 Nov 2018

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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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