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ovulated; ovulating; ovulates

transitive + intransitive

: to release a mature ovum during ovulation : to discharge an egg cell from an ovary
… women don't necessarily have textbook cycles—they may ovulate on day 8 in a short cycle, for example, or on day 20 in a long one—so predicting fertility can be a lottery.Judith N. Schwartz
The twins came from a single embryo, as normally results when a mare ovulates and is bred.The Chronicle of the Horse
Large male canines usually function in inter-male competition for ovulating females …David D. Arter
To initiate embryo transfer a female animal is given a fertility drug that causes her to ovulate several eggs at one time.Noel Vietmeyer
A woman is born with a finite number of eggs, which gradually get ovulated or die off as she ages.Claudia Kalb


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ovu·​late ˈä-vyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce ovulate (audio) ˈō- How to pronounce ovulate (audio)
: bearing an ovule (see ovule sense 1)
ovulate pine cones

Examples of ovulate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Doctors eventually diagnosed Murgatroyd with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that can cause a woman not to ovulate regularly. Lanae Brody, PEOPLE.com, 21 June 2022 On average, their ratio of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) was lower, increasing their chances of ovulating—and, therefore, of conceiving.1 These effects may be partly due to a ketogenic diet’s ability to stabilize blood sugar, a major player in the diagnosis of PCOS. Sarah Garone, Health, 18 Sep. 2023 This is especially true for people with irregular cycles, who might ovulate closer to their menstrual cycle's start date. Jennifer Barton, Parents, 3 Aug. 2023 But one female failed to ovulate, another had complications with her egg, and sperm for the third had lost much of its motility—its ability to travel into the oviduct and fertilize an egg—during shipment to the zoo, all of which made pregnancy less likely. Amy Mathews Amos, Scientific American, 4 Sep. 2023 For example, people with 28-day cycles typically ovulate on approximately day 14 of their cycle, explains Lauren Sundheimer, M.D., MS, FACOG, an OB-GYN practicing in Santa Monica, California. Christin Perry, Parents, 30 June 2023 Both of these types of pills work to shift your natural hormone levels in order to interrupt the normal signaling in your brain that tells your ovaries when to ovulate. Women's Health, 20 June 2023 Mothers would stop lactating and start ovulating again, giving the marauding male a chance to spread his genes. Blake Edgar, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2016 Females ovulate once a month, meaning one, count 'em, one egg is released. Kyle Munkittrick, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2011 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ovulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



ovule or its source, Medieval Latin ōvulum + -ate entry 4


ovule + -ate entry 3

First Known Use


1851, in the meaning defined above


circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ovulate was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near ovulate

Cite this Entry

“Ovulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ovulate. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ovulated; ovulating
: to produce eggs or release them from an ovary

Medical Definition


ovu·​late ˈäv-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce ovulate (audio)
ˈōv- How to pronounce ovulate (audio)
ovulated; ovulating; ovulates

transitive + intransitive

: to release a mature ovum during ovulation : to discharge an egg cell from an ovary
Some women ovulate regularly but fail to conceive after more than a year of unprotected intercourse and so are considered to be subfertile.Edward Hughes et al., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
In this way, the dominant follicle signals its readiness to ovulate through the ability to produce large amounts of estrogen.Diane M. Duffy et al., Endocrine Reviews
Older women are more likely to ovulate eggs that are aneuploid.Julie A. Merriman et al., Biology of Reproduction
When implantation of a conceptus does not occur in ovulating women, the corpus luteum involutes, and the concentrations of circulating estrogen and progesterone decline.Bryan D. Cowan et al., The New England Journal of Medicine

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