fer·til·ize | \ ˈfər-tə-ˌlīz \
fertilized; fertilizing

Definition of fertilize 

transitive verb

: to make fertile: such as

a : to apply a fertilizer to fertilize land

b : to cause the fertilization of

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Other words from fertilize

fertilizable \ˈfər-tə-ˌlī-zə-bəl \ adjective

Examples of fertilize in a Sentence

A single sperm fertilizes an egg. Bees fertilize plants as they collect nectar from flowers. He fertilizes the lawn every year. The soil is so rich there is no need to fertilize.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Sewage sludge -- the semi-solid by-product of sewage water treatment -- is used in many countries to fertilize agricultural fields. Mark Tutton, CNN, "It's not just the oceans: Microplastic pollution is all around us," 22 Apr. 2018 To make embryos express it, the researchers injected messenger RNA for HCN2 into some frog egg cells just a couple of hours after they were fertilized. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth," 18 Mar. 2018 To get pregnant, your egg has to be released from your ovary, travel down a fallopian tube, become fertilized by sperm, and attach itself to your uterine wall, Shepherd explains. Korin Miller, Allure, "This Is What Endometriosis Pain Feels Like — and How to Treat It," 6 Mar. 2018 It is designed so the body then produces a scar tissue barrier that prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg. Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY, "FDA restricts sales of a Bayer's Essure birth control device," 9 Apr. 2018 It's meant as a permanent form of birth control in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are sealed to prevent eggs from being fertilized. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Catholic-affiliated All Saints Hospital in Racine criticized for ceasing tubal ligation," 22 Feb. 2018 Feel free to use the tree stakes to fertilize your tree this month. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "How to properly prune and fertilize magnolia trees," 17 Feb. 2018 Scientists plan to take egg cells from the still living northern rhinoceros females in autumn of this year, and to fertilize them with stored sperm from the same species. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Northern white rhino could be saved from extinction using embryos," 5 July 2018 Now farmed far from its native Mexico and the bees that evolved to fertilize it, vanilla orchids have to be pollinated by hand in a time-consuming process—the small white flowers bloom once a year, for one day only. Aryn Baker/sahabevava, Time, "Vanilla Is Nearly as Expensive as Silver. That Spells Trouble for Madagascar," 13 June 2018

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

1621, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for fertilize

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fertilize

The first known use of fertilize was in 1621

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More Definitions for fertilize



English Language Learners Definition of fertilize

: to make (an egg) able to grow and develop

: to make (a plant or flower) able to produce seeds

: to make (soil, land, etc.) richer and better able to support plant growth by adding chemicals or a natural substance (such as manure)


fer·til·ize | \ ˈfər-tə-ˌlīz \
fertilized; fertilizing

Kids Definition of fertilize

: to make fertile or more fertile a fertilized egg Workers fertilized the garden with nutrients.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fertilize

Spanish Central: Translation of fertilize

Nglish: Translation of fertilize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fertilize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fertilize

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