- to render (the female gamete) capable of development by uniting it with the male gamete.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for fertilize
The animals proved to be a great attraction as well as a handy way to fertilize the grass and keep it short.Central Park’s Carriages Saved This Horse
April 24, 2014
Some is sold as a liming agent, and some is disposed of in landfills (though it used to be sent to Colorado to fertilize crops).Toilet Made for Densely Populated Settlements Turns Waste Into Dollars
April 5, 2014
I might fertilize him, I might prune him, and I might use insecticide on him.Her Father's Daughter
I'll fertilize their damned Earth with their own black blood.Slaves of Mercury
All that ash will fertilize the ground, and it will all be green.A Campfire Girl's Test of Friendship
Jane L. Stewart
If enthusiasm were suffered to penetrate and fertilize her soul!The Patrician
It was easier to break new land than to fertilize that long in use.Washington and his Comrades in Arms
- 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
Word Origin and History for fertilize
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.
- The process of making soil more productive of plant growth, as by the addition of organic material or fertilizer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.