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


barren, fruitless, impotent, sterile, unfruitful


fat, fertile, fruitful

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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

Her mother, Margo Williams, now 65, had sought help from Dr. Kim McMorries, telling him that her husband was infertile. Jacqueline Mroz, New York Times, "Their Mothers Chose Donor Sperm. The Doctors Used Their Own.," 26 Aug. 2019 If crops are not rotated properly, the soil can become infertile and nothing can be grown for several years. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Grassland threats, explained," 22 Aug. 2019 Use ingestible birth control, which renders male rats infertile and causes females to reach menopause more quickly. Colin Campbell,, "PETA billboard in Baltimore calls Jared Kushner ‘rich pest,' urges humane rat control," 19 Aug. 2019 For one thing, Handmaid's Tale shows more of the Marthas, particularly Rita, as much more than infertile house servants. Sabrina Rojas Weiss,, "What You Need To Remember About The Marthas For Handmaid's Tale Season 3," 5 June 2019 Although a completely incorrect assumption, this brings on stigma to infertile women., "Here’s why many black women are silent about their struggle with infertility," 28 June 2019 Both are descendants of Sudan and live in Kenya, and were considered infertile. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Northern white rhino could be saved from extinction using embryos," 5 July 2018 There are an estimated 2 million infertile couples in the U.S. waiting to adopt a baby. Dan Hart, National Review, "In a Post-Abortion America, the Pro-Life Movement Must Prepare to Change Attitudes toward Adoption," 7 June 2019 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of couples who would be classified as infertile, and the number of women seeking out fertility services, hasn’t changed much since 2002. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Sperm counts are falling. This isn’t the reproductive apocalypse — yet.," 30 May 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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Statistics for infertile

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with infertile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for infertile

Spanish Central: Translation of infertile

Nglish: Translation of infertile for Spanish Speakers

Comments on infertile

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readily or continually undergoing change

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