fer·​til·​ize | \ ˈfər-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce fertilize (audio) \
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 How to pronounce fertilizable (audio) \ 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 Other experts have suggested that dust plumes may help fertilize the ocean with iron, feeding microorganisms in the water. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Saharan Dust Plume Slams U.S., Kicking Up Climate Questions," 26 June 2020 The Saharan dust cloud is a billowing ribbon of life-giving minerals such as iron and phosphorous that fertilize the most biodiverse oases on the planet, including the lush menagerie that is the Amazon rainforest. Sabrina Imbler, The Atlantic, "Saharan Dust Storms Are Giving Earth Life," 24 June 2020 Gina was waiting for an embryo transfer, a procedure in which her egg, which had previously been removed and fertilized with her husband’s sperm, would be returned to her body. Monique Brouillette, Wired, "Covid-19 Creates Long, Anxious Waits for Fertility Treatments," 28 May 2020 There is still time to fertilize the lawn with a slow-release fertilizer such as 19-5-9. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Calvin Finch: How to attract butterflies to your San Antonio garden all year long," 21 May 2020 Latin for ‘embrace’—this mating behavior is common among amphibians and other animals whose eggs must be fertilized externally. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, "Winners of the 2020 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition," 11 May 2020 Kibibi’s eggs were fertilized using frozen sperm from a three-year old cheetah named Slash, who lives at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, on Nov. 19. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "Columbus Zoo announces first baby cheetah cubs born via IVF," 28 Feb. 2020 The lakes are also fertilized to maximize fish production. Frank Sargeant, al, "Outdoors notebook: Get ready to fish public lakes," 29 Jan. 2020 These were fertilized chicken eggs on their way to an incubator. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Egg roll: Over 136K eggs fall off semitrailer onto roadway," 25 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for fertilize

Time Traveler

The first known use of fertilize was in 1621

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Statistics for fertilize

Last Updated

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fertilize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertilize. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for fertilize


How to pronounce fertilize (audio)

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 How to pronounce fertilize (audio) \
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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