fer·til·iz·er | \ˈfər-tə-ˌlī-zər \

Definition of fertilizer 

: one that fertilizes specifically : a substance (such as manure or a chemical mixture) used to make soil more fertile

Examples of fertilizer in a Sentence

We only use organic fertilizer in our gardens. They use chemical fertilizers on their lawn.

Recent Examples on the Web

Runoff wastes valuable irrigation and rainwater and can wash fertilizers, pesticides and soil downstream, which can harm fish and other wildlife. Dawn Standke, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tally up your garden’s earth friendliness," 12 July 2018 The simplest option, Dolan says, is to use the green ammonia as fertilizer, like today's ammonia but without the carbon penalty. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Ammonia—a renewable fuel made from sun, air, and water—could power the globe without carbon," 12 July 2018 That’s because nitrogen and phosphorus, which are in the fertilizers, are food for toxic algae. Emily Hopkins, Cincinnati.com, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 July 2018 And the same was no less true when there was fertilizer, feed, and seed to be picked up in town. James C. Cobb, Smithsonian, "The Pickup Truck’s Transformation From Humble Workhorse to Fancy Toy," 3 July 2018 In recent years, the sargassum has had more than its fair share of nitrogen, thriving on the fertilizer, livestock manure, human waste and sewage that seeps into the Gulf from the Mississippi River. Jacob Sweet, miamiherald, "Lots of sun, and brown slimy seaweed, in the forecast for South Florida beaches," 3 July 2018 Each tray contained a different type of fertilizer, including a synthetic used by Naperville Park District and nearby golf courses. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville girls have the poop on best pond-friendly lawn fertilizer," 3 July 2018 Then there’s spreading the fertilizer, cleaning out the shed, cleaning the buckets and getting the credit card machines set up in the fields — which can be tricky as reception is spotty. Annie Alleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Blueberry, raspberry picking season is almost here," 27 June 2018 Guano remains a highly prized fertilizer, and Peru is at the top of the field thanks to the gigantic quantity of oily anchovies that guano birds feast on — which makes their dung valuable — and the unusual nature of Peru’s desert coast. Washington Post, "The unlikely treasure off Peru’s coast," 21 June 2018

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

circa 1661, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for fertilizer

The first known use of fertilizer was circa 1661

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English Language Learners Definition of fertilizer

: a substance (such as manure or a special chemical) that is added to soil to help the growth of plants


fer·til·iz·er | \ˈfər-tə-ˌlī-zər \

Kids Definition of fertilizer

: material added to soil to make it more fertile

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