fer·​til·​i·​za·​tion | \ˌfər-tə-lə-ˈzā-shən \

Definition of fertilization 

: an act or process of making fertile: such as

a : the application of fertilizer

b(1) : an act or process of fecundation, insemination, or pollination not used technically

(2) : the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated

Examples of fertilization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

At this point in typical IVF, the egg-sperm mixture would be placed in an incubator for fertilization and development. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "These Two Women Both ‘Carried’ Their Baby Using Reciprocal Effortless IVF," 16 Nov. 2018 These improvements make the most of every acre and enhance fertilization and irrigation efficiency to maximize the use of nitrogen, phosphorous, and water. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "A roadmap to agriculture that’s sustainable and climate-neutral," 15 Oct. 2018 Pollen, which carries the sperm cells that allow plant fertilization to take place, is among the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Watch This Pine Tree Unleash a Huge, Fluffy Pollen Cloud," 10 May 2018 But what makes self-fertilization such a last resort? Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Alternatives to Heterosexual Pairings, Brought to You By Non-Human Animals," 28 June 2018 These scientists concluded that lower doses of stimulation drugs could significantly improve embryo quality and fertilization rates. Elizabeth Katkin, Marie Claire, "It Took 7 Miscarriages, 10 IVF cycles, 9 Years, and Nearly $200,000 to Solve My Fertility Issues," 15 June 2018 Carol Sommerfelt, its lab director, believes that life begins at fertilization. Julie Washington, cleveland.com, "Are frozen embryos human life? Fertility treatments present ethical dilemmas," 11 Apr. 2018 While many women experienced unpleasant side effects and there were concerns about safety and reliability from the start, the drug proved unprecedentedly successful at regulating women’s menstrual cycles and preventing fertilization. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 If fertilization happens, the egg will continue its journey to the uterus and can implant on that lining. Korin Miller, SELF, "Serena Williams Says She Had a Period While She Was Pregnant," 28 June 2018

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

circa 1787, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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The first known use of fertilization was circa 1787

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More Definitions for fertilization


fer·​til·​iza·​tion | \ˌfər-tə-lə-ˈzā-shən \

Kids Definition of fertilization

1 : an act or process of making fertile fertilization of a new lawn

2 : the joining of an egg cell and a sperm cell to form the first stage of an embryo


variants: or British fertilisation \ˌfərt-​ᵊl-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən \

Medical Definition of fertilization 

: an act or process of making fertile: as

a : an act or process of fecundation, insemination, or impregnation

b : the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated

Other Words from fertilization

fertilize or British fertilise \ˈfərt-​ᵊl-​ˌīz \ transitive verb fertilized or British fertilised; fertilizing or British fertilising

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More from Merriam-Webster on fertilization

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fertilization

Spanish Central: Translation of fertilization

Nglish: Translation of fertilization for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fertilization

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to enclose within walls

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