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[fur-tl-uh-zey-shuh n] /ˌfɜr tl əˈzeɪ ʃən/
an act, process, or instance of fertilizing.
the state of being fertilized.
  1. the union of male and female gametic nuclei.
  2. fecundation or impregnation of animals or plants.
the enrichment of soil, as for the production of crops.
Origin of fertilization
First recorded in 1855-60; fertilize + -ation
Related forms
fertilizational, adjective
overfertilization, noun
prefertilization, noun
refertilization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fertilization
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This union of the male and female sex cells is called "fertilization."

    The Mother and Her Child William S. Sadler
  • Land was cheap and means of fertilization was limited and laborious.

  • Fecundation and fertilization are important terms to remember.


    William J. Robinson
  • The process of fertilization or fecundation is also known as impregnation and conception.


    William J. Robinson
  • The fertilization of peach-soils is to be considered in a separate topic.

    The Peaches of New York U. P. Hedrick
British Dictionary definitions for fertilization


the union of male and female gametes, during sexual reproduction, to form a zygote
the act or process of fertilizing
the state of being fertilized
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fertilization

1857, noun of action from fertilize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fertilization in Medicine

fertilization fer·til·i·za·tion (fûr'tl-ĭ-zā'shən)
The union of male and female gametes to form a zygote, a process that begins with the penetration of the secondary oocyte by the spermatozoon and is completed with the fusion of the male and female pronuclei.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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fertilization in Science
  1. The process by which two gametes (reproductive cells having a single, haploid set of chromosomes) fuse to become a zygote, which develops into a new organism. The resultant zygote is diploid (it has two sets of chromosomes). In cross-fertilization, the two gametes come from two different individual organisms. In self-fertilization, the gametes come from the same individual. Fertilization includes the union of the cytoplasm of the gametes (called plasmogamy) followed by the union of the nuclei of the two gametes (called karyogamy). Among many animals, such as mammals, fertilization occurs inside the body of the female. Among fish, eggs are fertilized in the water. Among plants, fertilization of eggs occurs within the reproductive structures of the parent plant, such as the ovules of gymnosperms and angiosperms. See Note at pollination.

  2. The process of making soil more productive of plant growth, as by the addition of organic material or fertilizer.

fertilize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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fertilization in Culture

fertilization definition

The joining of sex cells to form a new living thing. In humans, a male sperm joins a female ovum, or egg; the resulting zygote divides into a multicelled structure that implants in the womb and grows into an embryo. In plants, pollen grains, containing the male sex cells, enter the female sex cells in the pistil; from this union, fruit eventually grows. When fertilization occurs within a single flower, we call it self-fertilization. (See cross-fertilization.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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