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 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 This low-maintenance tree doesn’t require pruning and needs only to be fertilized once a year in early spring. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "The Empress of China Dogwood Is the Tree Your Yard Is Missing," 19 Apr. 2020 Here, the idea is to fertilize the egg outside of the body and then put the resulting embryo back in. Brooke Borel, New York Times, "Your Guide to Fertility and Getting Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2020 King explained that individual male dolphins that aren't part of an alliance wouldn't be able to fertilize a female, and pairs or trios from the same larger alliance may compete for females. Jack Guy, CNN, "Male bottlenose dolphins form gangs to get a mate," 1 Apr. 2020 And yet the materials extracted here—destined to fertilize immense farms in the United States and elsewhere—are an essential ingredient in the production of food that sustains the world’s booming population. Edward Burtynsky, National Geographic, "Hidden landscapes reveal how humans have reshaped the planet," 25 Mar. 2020

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

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fertilize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fertilize. Accessed 28 May. 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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