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[fur-tl-ahyz] /ˈfɜr tlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), fertilized, fertilizing.
  1. to render (the female gamete) capable of development by uniting it with the male gamete.
  2. to fecundate or impregnate (an animal or plant).
to make fertile; enrich:
to fertilize farmland.
to make productive.
Also, especially British, fertilise.
Origin of fertilize
First recorded in 1640-50; fertile + -ize
Related forms
fertilizable, adjective
fertilizability, noun
overfertilize, verb (used with object), overfertilized, overfertilizing.
prefertilize, verb (used with object), prefertilized, prefertilizing.
refertilizable, adjective
refertilize, verb (used with object), refertilized, refertilizing.
unfertilizable, adjective
unfertilized, adjective
unfertilizing, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unfertilized
Historical Examples
  • The drones are derived from unfertilized eggs; yet their instincts are those of the male, not of the female.

    Homo-culture Martin Luther Holbrook
  • Often the unfertilized ovum is carried away with it, but the two things do not necessarily happen at the same time.

    The Sex Side of Life Mary Dennett
  • Conklin has established the existence of a definite structure in the unfertilized eggs of Ascidians, Amphioxus, and many molluscs.

  • After fertilization the flower droops, to be out of the way of the bees in their visits to the unfertilized blossoms.

  • Better opportunities were offered when a method was discovered which induced the development of the unfertilized eggs of the frog.

  • Parthenogenesis exists; the unfertilized eggs produced only males (Edmunds, 1954).

  • Parthenogenesis occurs; the unfertilized eggs produced only males (Flock, 1941).

  • You quicken an unfertilized egg in vitro and you get a little ball of fur and bone and skin and stem-cells.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • Conjugating paramecia, fertilized and unfertilized starfish eggs.

  • The difference of appearance between fertilized and unfertilized ova treated by the method will demonstrate its utility.

British Dictionary definitions for unfertilized


(of an animal, plant, or egg cell) not fertilized: an unfertilized ovum


verb (transitive)
to provide (an animal, plant, or egg cell) with sperm or pollen to bring about fertilization
to supply (soil or water) with mineral and organic nutrients to aid the growth of plants
to make fertile or productive
Derived Forms
fertilizable, fertilisable, adjective
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 unfertilized



1640s, "make fertile;" see fertile + -ize. Its biological sense of "unite with an egg cell" is first recorded 1859. Related: Fertilized; fertilizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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