in·​fer·​tile | \ (ˈ)in-ˈfər-tᵊl How to pronounce infertile (audio) \

Definition of infertile

: not fertile or productive infertile eggs infertile fields especially : incapable of or unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy infertile couples

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Other Words from infertile

infertility \ ˌin-​(ˌ)fər-​ˈti-​lə-​tē How to pronounce infertility (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for infertile



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Examples of infertile in a Sentence

an infertile cow is of limited use to a farmer only parched, infertile fields remained after months of drought
Recent Examples on the Web Shortly after being laid, the infertile and genetically inferior eggs were deftly replaced by keepers with wooden fakes. Steve Rubenstein,, "Baby penguins make their waddling debut at SF Zoo," 27 July 2019 Other options were infertile, or even closer to volcanoes than the Colonia Quince de Octubre La Trinidad. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "Under the volcano," 27 Nov. 2019 Forty percent of kakapo eggs are infertile -- most likely as a consequence of inbreeding -- so Digby and his team have turned to technology to boost success rates. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "Can tech save the kakapo, New Zealand's 'gorgeous, hilarious' parrot?," 26 Dec. 2019 The program renders the flies infertile, part of a decades-long effort to protect livestock by keeping the screwworm flies—and their flesh-eating, parasitic larvae—away. National Geographic, "What makes this cardinal so fascinating?," 19 Dec. 2019 Forest was cut down and burned before planting, and then, when the plot became infertile, the farmer moved to fresh forestland and did the same again. Michael E Odijie, Quartz Africa, "West Africa’s cocoa farmers are trapped by the global chocolate industry," 10 Oct. 2019 On its website, Fairhaven Health, which sells FertilAid and seven other fertility supplements, touts a clinical trial in which 12 of 16 previously infertile women conceived after taking PABA, a compound in folic acid. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Calling for federal action, watchdog says there’s no evidence dietary supplements for infertility help women get pregnant," 18 Nov. 2019 Moreover, another provision in the law, intended to insure that unused embryos wouldn’t be destroyed, mandated that they be donated to an infertile heterosexual couple if they weren’t used within twenty years. Anna Louie Sussman, The New Yorker, "When the Government Seizes Your Embryos," 22 Oct. 2019 French law currently allows in vitro fertilization and related procedures only for infertile heterosexual couples., "The legislation does not address surrogate motherhood arrangements, which are banned in France.," 16 Oct. 2019

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

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for infertile

Middle French, from Late Latin infertilis, from Latin in- + fertilis fertile

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Time Traveler for infertile

Time Traveler

The first known use of infertile was in 1597

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Statistics for infertile

Last Updated

6 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Infertile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for infertile


How to pronounce infertile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of infertile

: not able to reproduce : not able to produce children, young animals, etc.
: not suited for raising crops : unable to support the growth of plants


in·​fer·​tile | \ in-ˈfər-tᵊl How to pronounce infertile (audio) \

Kids Definition of infertile

: not fertile infertile soil


in·​fer·​tile | \ (ˈ)in-ˈfərt-ᵊl How to pronounce infertile (audio) \

Medical Definition of infertile

: not fertile especially : incapable of or unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy over a considerable period of time (as a year) in spite of determined attempts by heterosexual intercourse without contraception infertile couples an infertile male with a low sperm count an infertile female with blocked fallopian tubes — compare sterile sense 1

Other Words from infertile

infertility \ ˌin-​(ˌ)fər-​ˈtil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce infertility (audio) \ noun, plural infertilities

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More from Merriam-Webster on infertile

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with infertile

Spanish Central: Translation of infertile

Nglish: Translation of infertile for Spanish Speakers

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