fer·​til·​i·​ty | \ (ˌ)fər-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce fertility (audio) \

Definition of fertility

1 : the quality or state of being fertile
2 : the birthrate of a population

Examples of fertility in a Sentence

She studied the effects of pollution on the fertility of the local fish population. The doctor ordered a test of his fertility. The area is known for its soil fertility. the fertility of his imagination
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Recent Examples on the Web Southern Europe’s fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world, at 1.37 child per woman, well below the population replacement level. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "European countries lost their best and brightest after the debt crisis. Now they want them back," 5 Feb. 2020 Women here have on average more than seven children, the highest fertility rate in the world. Nicolas Niarchos, Time, "Boko Haram Refugees Find Safety in Niger. But How Long Can the Country Remain a Safe Haven in the Sahel?," 30 Jan. 2020 And lower interest rates may be less effective given long-run restraints on housing such as the slower global growth expected over the next few years, property regulations and declining fertility rates. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "New Cloud Over Global Growth: Synchronized Housing Slowdown," 27 Jan. 2020 The scale of this decline is new, precipitated by an ageing workforce, falling fertility rates and less immigration. The Economist, "Shrinking states offer perks for new residents," 25 Jan. 2020 South Korea's fertility rate hit a record low last year of 0.98, or fewer than one baby per woman in the population. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "China's birthrate hits lowest level since country was founded in 1949," 17 Jan. 2020 The national fertility rate has fallen to a historic low of 1.73 births per woman. USA TODAY, "Navajo ‘Baby Shark,’ Stanley Hotel, final ‘Plunge for Pete’: News from around our 50 states," 31 Dec. 2019 In response, Japan has made efforts to push up its fertility rate — the average number of births per woman — from its current level of around 1.4 to a target of 1.8, still short of the 2.1 considered necessary to hold the population steady. Ben Dooley, New York Times, "Japan Shrinks by 500,000 People as Births Fall to Lowest Number Since 1874," 24 Dec. 2019 The number of traditional family caregivers will shrink as marriages decline, divorce remains popular and fertility rates fall. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio gets AARP’s only senior ‘playground’ in the state," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fertility.' 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 fertility

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fertility

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fertility

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fertility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertility. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fertility


How to pronounce fertility (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fertility

: the ability to produce young
: the ability to support the growth of many plants
: the ability to produce many ideas


fer·​til·​i·​ty | \ ˌfər-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce fertility (audio) \

Kids Definition of fertility

: the condition of being fertile soil fertility


fer·​til·​i·​ty | \ (ˌ)fər-ˈtil-ət-ē How to pronounce fertility (audio) \
plural fertilities

Medical Definition of fertility

1 : the quality or state of being fertile
2 : the birthrate of a population — compare mortality sense 2b

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More from Merriam-Webster on fertility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fertility

Spanish Central: Translation of fertility

Nglish: Translation of fertility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fertility for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fertility

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