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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
Couples may abstain from intercourse when a woman is ovulating or at a point in her cycle of high fertility to enhance the effectiveness of birth control through withdrawal. Mary Walrath-Holdridge, USA TODAY, 7 July 2024 Dogs ovulate only once or twice a year and mature their eggs in the oviduct for a relatively long time. Alexandra Horowitz, The New Yorker, 24 June 2024 However, with the mini-pill, about half the people taking it still ovulate. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 18 Mar. 2024 However, this can also depend on your menstrual cycle because while most people ovulate 10 to 14 days before their menses, some are irregular. Sarah Bradley, Parents, 30 Mar. 2024 Combination pills that contain progestin and estrogen work by preventing someone from ovulating, the Mayo Clinic explains. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 18 Mar. 2024 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

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 12 Jul. 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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