• synonyms


verb (used with object), fer·ti·lized, fer·ti·liz·ing.
  1. Biology.
    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).
  2. to make fertile; enrich: to fertilize farmland.
  3. to make productive.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for unfertilized

Historical Examples of unfertilized

  • Often the unfertilized ovum is carried away with it, but the two things do not necessarily happen at the same time.

    The Sex Side of Life

    Mary Dennett

  • After fertilization the flower droops, to be out of the way of the bees in their visits to the unfertilized blossoms.

  • Parthenogenesis exists; the unfertilized eggs produced only males (Edmunds, 1954).

  • Parthenogenesis occurs; the unfertilized eggs produced only males (Flock, 1941).

  • You quicken an unfertilized egg in vitro and you get a little ball of fur and bone and skin and stem-cells.


    Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for unfertilized



  1. (of an animal, plant, or egg cell) not fertilizedan unfertilized ovum
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verb (tr)
  1. to provide (an animal, plant, or egg cell) with sperm or pollen to bring about fertilization
  2. to supply (soil or water) with mineral and organic nutrients to aid the growth of plants
  3. to make fertile or productive
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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 unfertilized



1640s, "make fertile;" see fertile + -ize. Its biological sense of "unite with an egg cell" is first recorded 1859. Related: Fertilized; fertilizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper