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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web More stories Collier, 66, grew up in the heart of the Arkansas Delta, an expanse of dark, fertile earth stretching over bayous and through thick stands of cedar and live oak along the west bank of the Mississippi. Los Angeles Times, "Along the Mississippi, Obamacare’s neglected legacy: civil rights," 11 May 2020 As a young, fertile woman, she is valued within her community for little besides her ability to reproduce. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "“Unorthodox,” Reviewed: A Young Woman’s Remarkable Flight from Hasidic Williamsburg," 9 Apr. 2020 In Barton Fink and Hail, Caesar! the Coen Brothers conjured a world of slumming playwrights banging out scripts, blowhard studio execs chomping cigars and feisty gossip columnists digging for dirt on ridiculously fertile ground. Judy Berman, Time, "Netflix's Hollywood Is a Lush Golden Age Fantasy With a Strangely Naive Worldview," 29 Apr. 2020 Others deposit fertile nodes into the soil, which are then carried into the veins of other plants. Trace Barnett, al, "Expert tips for creating a pollinator garden at home," 28 Apr. 2020 While the testing fiasco is the administration’s most egregious failure so far, there is really no shortage of fertile material for political messaging. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Biden’s Incoherent, China-Bashing Attack on Trump," 21 Apr. 2020 Bars, nightclubs and motels across the country that are ordinarily fertile marketplaces for drug dealers have shuttered. Jim Mustian And Jake Bleiberg, Houston Chronicle, "‘Cartels are scrambling’: Virus snarls global drug trade," 20 Apr. 2020 Rather than trying to seize the fertile valley floor, where people already lived, the newcomers occupied high, dry land that no one else had figured out how to use. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Shrewd water use helped South America’s first empire thrive. So why did a drought destroy it?," 16 Apr. 2020 As temperatures rise and glaciers melt, once-fertile land has become barren and diseases that attack livestock have appeared. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "Climate Point: Nepal is melting, and Trump wants to mine the moon," 10 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fertile

Time Traveler for fertile

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fertile

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fertile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertile. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fertile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fertile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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