from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Biology Capable of initiating, sustaining, or supporting reproduction.
  • adj. Biology Capable of growing and developing; able to mature: a fertile egg.
  • adj. Botany Bearing functional reproductive structures such as seeds or fruit or material such as spores or pollen.
  • adj. Bearing or producing crops or vegetation abundantly; fruitful.
  • adj. Rich in material needed to sustain plant growth: fertile soil.
  • adj. Highly or continuously productive; prolific: a fertile imagination; a fertile source of new ideas.
  • adj. Physics Capable of producing fissionable material: fertile thorium 232.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. capable of growing abundant crops; productive
  • adj. capable of reproducing; fecund, fruitful
  • adj. capable of developing past the egg stage
  • adj. productive or prolific

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Producing fruit or vegetation in abundance; fruitful; able to produce abundantly; prolific; fecund; productive; rich; inventive
  • adj.
  • adj. Capable of producing fruit; fruit-bearing.
  • adj. Containing pollen; -- said of anthers.
  • adj. produced in abundance; plenteous; ample.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Bearing or producing abundantly, as of vegetable growth, and sometimes of offspring; productive; fruitful: with of or in before the thing produced: as,fertile soil; a fertile breed of animals; a land fertile of wheat, or fertile in soldiers as well as supplies.
  • Productive mentally; fruitful in intellectual activity; inventive; ingenious: as, a fertile brain or imagination; a mind fertile in resources.
  • In bot.:
  • Fruiting, or capable of producing fruit; having a perfect pistil: as, a fertile flower.
  • Capable of fertilizing, as an anther with well-developed pollen.
  • Causing production; fertilizing; promoting fecundity: as, fertile showers; fertile thoughts; a fertile suggestion.
  • In bee-keeping, in a fertilized state; pregnant. See the extract.
  • Synonyms Productive, etc. See fruitful.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. bearing in abundance especially offspring
  • adj. intellectually productive
  • adj. marked by great fruitfulness
  • adj. capable of reproducing


Middle English fertil, from Old French fertile, from Latin fertilis, from ferre, to bear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French, from Latin fertilis ("fruitful, fertile"), from ferō ("I bear, carry"). (Wiktionary)



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