• synonyms


[self-fur-tl-uh-zey-shuh n, self-]
  1. Botany. fertilization of an ovum of a plant by a male gamete from the same flower (opposed to cross-fertilization).
  2. Zoology. fertilization of the ovum of a hermaphroditic animal by a sperm from the same individual, as in some species of tapeworm.
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Origin of self-fertilization

First recorded in 1855–60
Related formsself-fer·ti·lized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-fertilization

Historical Examples

  • This species has the rare privilege of self-fertilization—we may well exclaim, Why!

    About Orchids

    Frederick Boyle

  • Self-fertilization occurs when the pollen of a given flower affects the egg-cell of the same individual flower.

  • In the flower where the father and mother part matures at the same time, self-fertilization is the rule.

    The Mother and Her Child

    William S. Sadler

  • Dr. Gray thought it very likely there would; for, when cross-fertilization is not effected, self-fertilization often takes place.

  • I think the evidence of the self-fertilization is far clearer than that of the cross-fertilization.

British Dictionary definitions for self-fertilization


  1. fertilization in a plant or animal by the fusion of male and female gametes produced by the same individualCompare cross-fertilization
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Derived Formsself-fertilized, adjectiveself-fertilizing or self-fertile, 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

self-fertilization in Science


  1. Fertilization that occurs when male and female gametes produced by the same organism unite. Self-fertilization occurs in many protozoans and invertebrate animals. It results from self-pollination in plants. Self-fertilization allows an isolated individual organism to reproduce but restricts the genetic diversity of a community. Compare cross-fertilization.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.