[fur-tl-uh-zey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for fertilization on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act, process, or instance of fertilizing.
  2. the state of being fertilized.
  3. Biology.
    1. the union of male and female gametic nuclei.
    2. fecundation or impregnation of animals or plants.
  4. the enrichment of soil, as for the production of crops.

Origin of fertilization

First recorded in 1855–60; fertilize + -ation
Related formsfer·ti·li·za·tion·al, adjectiveo·ver·fer·ti·li·za·tion, nounpre·fer·ti·li·za·tion, nounre·fer·ti·li·za·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fertilization

Contemporary Examples of fertilization

Historical Examples of fertilization

  • 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.

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


    William J. Robinson

  • Fecundation and fertilization are important terms to remember.


    William J. Robinson

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

British Dictionary definitions for fertilization



  1. the union of male and female gametes, during sexual reproduction, to form a zygote
  2. the act or process of fertilizing
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for fertilization

1857, noun of action from fertilize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fertilization in Medicine


  1. 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.

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

fertilization in Culture


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.