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

Always fertilize things before you transplant, is the main point here. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "It’s just about time for Alaska gardeners to put plants in the ground. Here’s what to do now to get ready.," 25 May 2018 Once the plants have their first set of true leaves, start fertilizing, according to label directions. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Sow seeds now for late-summer edibles," 8 July 2018 After that: ones that can plant, fertilize and spray pesticides. Vibhuti Agarwal, WSJ, "Now Cropping Up: Robo-Farming," 1 June 2018 Sperm and eggs mix and ideally fertilize, drifting on currents and settling once more to start new corals. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Corals Are in Serious Trouble. This Lab Could Help Save Them," 23 Apr. 2018 Two years ago, after a doctor harvested a dozen eggs from Gina, they were fertilized and placed in an incubator to develop for three to five days before being implanted. James F. Mccarty, cleveland.com, "Cleveland couple double victims of UH fertility clinic malfunctions, lawsuit claims," 17 Mar. 2018 Choose a very large pot about 10 to 12 inches deep, fertilize every month, and keep the water coming. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Broccoli," 25 Apr. 2018 Fill a 1-gallon container with potting soil, fertilize with Osmocote, and place the transplant in the container. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "What to expect for this year’s tomato crop," 16 Feb. 2018 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

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

12 Nov 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

What made you want to look up fertilize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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