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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from infertile

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for infertile



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Skating usually works best in the infertile currents of medium- to fast-moving freestone streams. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, "Skate, Skitter, and Twitch Dry Flies for Trout," 26 June 2020 In some regions, the introduction of termites has turned infertile land into cropland within a year. Scott Elder, National Geographic, "5 vital roles insects play in our ecosystem," 23 Apr. 2020 Still, as many as 80 percent of men who are infertile have low sperm counts. Hallie Levine, New York Times, "Male Infertility: What to Know and How to Cope," 18 Apr. 2020 But the toxic drugs and radiation used in her treatment were likely to injure her ovaries and leave her infertile. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "How women at NIH’s research hospital lost chances at childbearing," 2 Apr. 2020 According to a recent study, most infertile women don’t share their struggle with family or friends. Anna Goldfarb, New York Times, "What to Say to Someone Struggling With Infertility," 17 Apr. 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about infertile

Time Traveler for infertile

Time Traveler

The first known use of infertile was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Statistics for infertile

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Infertile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on infertile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for infertile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with infertile

Spanish Central: Translation of infertile

Nglish: Translation of infertile for Spanish Speakers

Comments on infertile

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!