Definition of fertilize in US English:


(British fertilise)


[with object]
  • 1Cause (an egg, female animal, or plant) to develop a new individual by introducing male reproductive material.

    • ‘What we found was that in general, the sperm was much less able to fertilise the eggs from female fish than the sperm from normal male fish would be, and we had a kind of sliding scale of effects.’
    • ‘After this process is complete a male bull trout (usually only one) will fertilize eggs deposited by the female.’
    • ‘When fertility laboratories fertilize eggs, grow embryos to the same developmental stage as the embryo clones and implant them in a human uterus, 40 to 60 percent end up as babies.’
    • ‘They say that most of your sperm are designed not to find and fertilize the female egg but to fight off other males' sperm.’
    • ‘Shinohara and his colleagues used a recently developed technique called in vitro microinsemination to fertilize rat eggs with mouse-grown rat sperm.’
    • ‘Significantly fewer eggs were fertilised when females mated with males given the drug.’
    • ‘In desperation, Wood thought of trying to fertilise human eggs inside animals, where he hoped the biological environment would be better for the eggs.’
    • ‘Sperm from the same male could be used to fertilize eggs from several females and vice versa.’
    • ‘When a female is inseminated with spermatozoa from an allospecific male, his spermatozoa successfully fertilize the eggs.’
    • ‘The eggs are fertilised inside the female and develop under the protection of the female.’
    • ‘The male will follow behind the female and fertilize the eggs as they are laid.’
    • ‘Reef fishes are egg-layers, and the eggs are externally fertilized by the male parent.’
    • ‘The female needs a male to fertilize her egg, even though it is she who carries offspring through pregnancy and childbirth.’
    • ‘Males compete to fertilize eggs, and a week or two after spawning adults of both sexes die.’
    • ‘This procedure is repeated until all the eggs are laid, with the male looping himself round the female each time to fertilize the eggs as she lays them.’
    • ‘If they are able to find sperm in a frozen mammoth carcass, they will try to take the nucleus from mammoth sperm and use it to fertilize an elephant egg in vitro.’
    • ‘Biologists knew from studies on a wide range of animals that males compete with other males to fertilize eggs and that females choose potential mates based on the males' appearance and, perhaps, even on their sperm.’
    • ‘The mother could also have both male and female reproductive characteristics giving her the ability to fertilize her own eggs.’
    • ‘Zebrafish can also be made to develop as haploids by fertilizing the egg with sperm heavily irradiated with ultraviolet light.’
    • ‘The male then fertilizes the eggs and the female keeps them in her mouth for a few days until they hatch, thus earning the epithet mouth-brooder.’
    impregnate, inseminate
    pollinate, cross-pollinate, cross-fertilize, make fruitful
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    1. 1.1 Make (soil or land) more fertile or productive by adding suitable substances to it.
      • ‘The dusty surface of our home wouldn't support any plantlife initially, but biochemistry has helped the gardener grow topsoil over the years, and fertilised the land.’
      • ‘At the end of the nineteenth century, burning forest biomass to clear land and fertilize the soil was used only occasionally on the Continent.’
      • ‘She prepared the nursery herself and used material like gypsum and neem cake (made with neem seeds) to fertilize the land.’
      • ‘They will build a dam for the cattle to drink from, and they will fertilize the soil with manure.’
      • ‘The soil was well fertilized and was watered regularly.’
      • ‘Instead of fertilising small plots of land with natural fertilisers, thousands of hectares are fertilised with substances that do not occur naturally.’
      • ‘They had to work out how they'd control weeds and insects, how they'd water the crop in a drought, and to start with, how they'd fertilise the soil.’
      • ‘When the only other dead member of our party died, we buried him in the soil to fertilize the land.’
      • ‘The compost will fertilize the soil as well as providing a layer of mulch to keep the soil moist.’
      • ‘Defecating its meal, the grizzly fertilizes the nitrogen-poor soil of the Douglas-fir forest.’
      • ‘Soils may harbor 50 to 500 earthworms per square meter; they keep soils aerated, and their castings fertilize the soil.’
      • ‘The most fertile land is in the Pacific coast region, where volcanic ash has fertilized the soil.’
      • ‘In the meantime, Waitrose is selling a selenium enriched bread grown by a farmer in East Anglia who fertilises his soil with selenium.’
      • ‘The compost can be used as mulch around plants, as a top dressing over your lawn which can fertilise the soil, or as a soil improver in vegetable or flower beds.’
      • ‘Despite the dangers, people often settle near volcanoes because the soil is periodically fertilized with mineral rich ash and dust.’
      • ‘Many farmers use manure to fertilize farm ground and pastures because it is relatively cheap and replenishes nutrients and organic matter.’
      • ‘How can we fertilize neglected land for best productivity while preparing it for organic certification down the road?’
      • ‘They may also indicate that you are fertilizing the soil too much.’
      • ‘What we should see at this time of year are fields of maize about 1ft high and tractors fertilising the land.’
      • ‘While the floods are drowning crops and livestock, and damaging property, they are also fertilising the soil in the form of silt.’
      add fertilizer to, enrich with fertilizer, feed, mulch, compost, manure, dung, dress, top-dress
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