fer·​tile | \ ˈfər-tᵊl How to pronounce fertile (audio) , chiefly British -ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce fertile (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fertilely (audio) \ adverb
fertileness \ ˈfər-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce fertileness (audio) \ 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 Again, another flag for us, a tie to an educational institution that provides fertile ground for spotting and assessing. CBS News, "Russian spies living among us: Inside the FBI's "Operation Ghost Stories"," 13 Oct. 2020 Mitsuye Tanamachi grew up during the Depression, moving every few years with her Japanese immigrant parents and six siblings in search of more fertile ground to farm in California’s arid Imperial Valley. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Mitsuye Tanamachi, World War II Internee, Dies at 97," 12 Oct. 2020 The damage caused by COVID-19 can be viewed optimistically as a fertile ground for establishing a better reality. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, "Academia after COVID," 10 Oct. 2020 John Steinbeck was born in 1902, at the mouth of one of the most agriculturally fertile valleys in the world, in the town of Salinas, California, some 19 miles inland from the Pacific Coast city of Monterey. Vivian Gornick, The New Republic, "The Anti-Social Novelist," 9 Oct. 2020 New England is fertile ground for smaller orchards that offer agritourism activities, a different breed from the huge commercial fruit operations mostly found in Washington state. Jules Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Crisp air and apples: Pandemic-weary folks flock to pick-your-own farms," 8 Oct. 2020 The consequences of Facebook's failures to take content seriously just keep piling up, and yet the change to promote groups will create even more fertile ground for the spread of extremism and misinformation. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Facebook’s latest “groups” disaster will only make it more toxic," 6 Oct. 2020 The first presidential debate, a chaotic melee during which Trump repeatedly interrupted and shouted over former Vice President Joe Biden, likely provided the show's writing team with particularly fertile ground for parody. NBC News, "'Saturday Night Live' is back. The show could feel very different.," 3 Oct. 2020 France’s banlieues—the working-class suburbs that ring its major cities—have become fertile recruiting grounds for Islamist groups. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Emmanuel Macron Targets ‘Islamic Separatism’ With Proposed Law," 2 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fertile

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fertile

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fertile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertile. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fertile


How to pronounce fertile (audio) How to pronounce fertile (audio)

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 How to pronounce fertile (audio) \

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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