[ fur-tl-uh-zey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for fertilization on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act, process, or instance of fertilizing.

  2. the state of being fertilized.

  1. Biology.

    • the union of male and female gametic nuclei.

    • fecundation or impregnation of animals or plants.

  2. the enrichment of soil, as for the production of crops.

Origin of fertilization

First recorded in 1855–60; fertilize + -ation

Other words from fertilization

  • fer·ti·li·za·tion·al, adjective
  • o·ver·fer·ti·li·za·tion, noun
  • pre·fer·ti·li·za·tion, noun
  • re·fer·ti·li·za·tion, noun

Words Nearby fertilization

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fertilization in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fertilization



/ (ˌfɜːtɪlaɪˈzeɪʃən) /

  1. the union of male and female gametes, during sexual reproduction, to form a zygote

  2. the act or process of fertilizing

  1. 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

Scientific definitions for fertilization


[ fûr′tl-ĭ-zāshən ]

  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.

Other words from fertilization

  • fertilize verb

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for fertilization


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.