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.


  1. (of an animal, plant, or egg cell) not fertilizedan unfertilized ovum

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

v.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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