verb (used with object), fer·ti·lized, fer·ti·liz·ing.

  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, fer·ti·lise.

Origin of fertilize

First recorded in 1640–50; fertile + -ize
Related formsfer·ti·liz·a·ble, adjectivefer·ti·liz·a·bil·i·ty, nouno·ver·fer·ti·lize, verb (used with object), o·ver·fer·ti·lized, o·ver·fer·ti·liz·ing.pre·fer·ti·lize, verb (used with object), pre·fer·ti·lized, pre·fer·ti·liz·ing.re·fer·ti·liz·a·ble, adjectivere·fer·ti·lize, verb (used with object), re·fer·ti·lized, re·fer·ti·liz·ing.un·fer·ti·liz·a·ble, adjectiveun·fer·ti·lized, adjectiveun·fer·ti·liz·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fertilise

Historical Examples of fertilise

  • It seems evident that their sole function is to fertilise the female.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • But dawn has power to fertilise the most matter-of-fact vision, and he was stirred.

  • The seed, taken in any quantity from it, does not fertilise a new cultivation.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

  • There should be no fresh stanza and no stop after 'fertilise.'

  • The ashes of this conflagration may fertilise anew the whole earth.

    The Soul of Susan Yellam

    Horace Annesley Vachell

British Dictionary definitions for fertilise



verb (tr)

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 Formsfertilizable or 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

Word Origin and History for fertilise



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