in·​fer·​tile | \(ˈ)in-ˈfər-tᵊl \

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 \ noun

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

Handmaids — women assigned to high ranking, infertile married couples and forced to act as surrogates for their children — are raped, beaten, and generally mistreated at will., "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 The two remaining females, Najin and Fatu, have been deemed infertile. Deborah Netburn,, "How IVF might save northern white rhinos, the world's most endangered species," 4 July 2018 The outlook for the species is dire: Both mother and daughter are infertile, and the last surviving male, Sudan, died in March at age 45. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "With Hybrid Embryo, Scientists Are One Step Closer to Saving the Northern White Rhino," 5 July 2018 The experiment Orwig has in mind is to use gene-editing technology to fix this flaw in the sperm-forming stem cells and then transplant them back into infertile mice, thereby demonstrating a potential treatment for male infertility. Stephen S. Hall, Scientific American, "The First Tinkering with Human Heredity May Happen in the Infertility Clinic," 28 Dec. 2016 But children born to women who are deemed morally unfit are also taken away and reassigned to infertile couples approved by the state. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Gilead in America," 20 June 2018 Why the couple never had children together is unclear; Martha might have been unable after a difficult delivery with Patsy, or possibly George was infertile. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, "How not being a father made George Washington the father of his country," 16 June 2018 She was also warned that the treatment could make her infertile. Claire Altschuler,, "Racing against cancer: New efforts to save lives with early detection," 21 May 2018 The plot retains the same contours: an infertile, affluent L.A. couple enter an adoption contract with a poor Louisiana expectant woman who can't afford to care for the child. Philip Brandes,, "Jane Anderson gives her 'Baby Dance' some smart new steps," 11 May 2018

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

The first known use of infertile was in 1597

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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 \

Kids Definition of infertile

: not fertile infertile soil


in·​fer·​tile | \(ˈ)in-ˈfərt-ᵊl \

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 \ noun plural infertilities

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a private place of worship

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