Meaning of “fertile” in the English Dictionary

"fertile" in British English

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uk /ˈfɜː.taɪl/ us /ˈfɝː.t̬əl/

fertile adjective (LAND)

C2 Fertile land can produce a large number of good quality crops.



  • The ploughed earth looked rich and dark and fertile.
  • In order to turn the deserts into fertile and productive land, engineers built an 800-mile canal.
  • Organic farmers don't put chemicals into the soil, but keep it fertile by growing clover and adding manure.
  • These plants need a moist fertile soil and a sheltered position.
  • The corn grows waist-high in these fertile fields.

fertile adjective (PEOPLE/ANIMALS/PLANTS)

Fertile animals or plants are able to produce (a lot of) young or fruit:

People get less fertile as they get older.

A fertile seed or egg is able to develop into a new plant or animal.

More examples

  • Cats become fertile at about 6 months old.
  • Women become less fertile as their age increases.
  • To improve your chances of conceiving, you should know at what time in your menstrual cycle you are most fertile.
  • The tests showed that you are perfectly fertile and that, in theory, you should be able to have a family.
  • The female laid sixteen fertile eggs, each resulting in a healthy chick.

(Definition of “fertile” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"fertile" in American English

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us /ˈfɜr·təl/

fertile adjective (GROWING PLANTS)

(of land) able to produce a large number of high-quality crops:

fertile soil

fertile adjective (ABLE TO PRODUCE)

biology (of people or animals) able to produce young

fig. Someone who has a fertile imagination has an active mind and is able to produce a lot of new and original ideas.

(Definition of “fertile” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)