from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Capable of initiating, sustaining, or supporting reproduction.
  • adjective Capable of growing and developing; able to mature.
  • adjective Botany Bearing functional reproductive structures such as seeds or fruit or material such as spores or pollen.
  • adjective Bearing or producing crops or vegetation abundantly; fruitful.
  • adjective Rich in material needed to sustain plant growth.
  • adjective Highly or continuously productive; prolific.
  • adjective Physics Capable of producing fissionable material.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of land, etc. capable of growing abundant crops; productive
  • adjective biology capable of reproducing; fecund, fruitful
  • adjective biology capable of developing past the egg stage
  • adjective of an imagination, etc. productive or prolific

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

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


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

[Middle English fertil, from Old French fertile, from Latin fertilis, from ferre, to bear; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Latin fertilis ("fruitful, fertile"), from ferō ("I bear, carry").


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