fertile


fertile
fertile, fecund, fruitful, prolific mean having or manifesting the power to produce fruit or offspring. The same distinctions in implications and connotations are observable in their corresponding nouns fertility, fecundity, fruitfulness, prolificacy.
Fertile (opposed to sterile, infertile) applies particularly to something in which seeds take root and grow or may take root and grow because it contains the elements essential to their life and development
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fertile soil

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fertility of alluvial land

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past fields where the wheat was high . . .; it was a fertile country— S. V. Benét

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Consequently the term often applies to something in which ideas take root and thrive
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a. fertile mind

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in the heath's barrenness to the farmer lay its fertility to the historian— Hardy

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in him were united a most logical head with a most fertile imagination— Boswell

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Fertile is also applicable to something which has in itself the elements essential to its growth and development
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a fertile egg

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fertile seed

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a fertile idea

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or to a person or animal or pair that is able to produce normal living young
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a fertile husband

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a fertile couple

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Fecund (opposed to barren) applies especially to something which actually yields in abundance or with rapidity fruits, offspring or, by extension, proj-ects, inventions, or works of art; thus, one speaks of the fecundity of a mother if one wishes to imply that she has a large family, but of her fertility if the intent is to indicate that she is not sterile; so, by extension, a fecund rather than a fertile inventive genius
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a good part of these inventions came to birth—or were further nourished—in the fecund mind of Leonardo da Vinci— Mumford

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if you had been born a Dumas—I am speaking of fecundity . . . and of nothing else . . . and could rattle off a romance in a fortnight— Quiller-Couch

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Fruitful may be preferred to fecund when the reference is to plants and may replace fertile in reference to soil or land, but it is especially applicable to something that promotes fertility or fecundity
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a fruitful rain

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In its extended sense it is applicable to whatever bears results, especially useful or profitable results
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the time has always come, and the season is never unripe, for the announcement of the fruitful idea— John Morley

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the enormously fruitful discovery that pitch of sound depends upon the length of the vibrating chord— Ellis

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Darwinism ... is a fruitful theory of the means by which nature works— Inge

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the poet ... is apt to lack the detachment which alone makes fruitful criticism possible— Lowes

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Prolific is often interchangeable with fecund, but it often suggests even greater rapidity in reproduction and is therefore more frequently used than the latter term in disparagement or derogation especially when applied to types or kinds of things or beings
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the starling is so prolific that the flocks become immense— Jefferies

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Uncultivated, defective people ... are appallingly prolificShaw

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the flabby pseudoreligions in which the modern world is so prolificKrutch

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Analogous words: producing, bearing, yielding (see BEAR): inventing or inventive, creating or creative (see corresponding verbs at INVENT): quickening, stimulating, provoking, exciting, galvanizing (see PROVOKE)
Antonyms: infertile, sterile
Contrasted words: barren, impotent, unfruitful (see STERILE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fertile — [ fɛrtil ] adj. • XIVe; lat. fertilis 1 ♦ Qui produit beaucoup de végétation utile (sol, terre). ⇒ fécond, productif, riche. Terre fertile (cf. De la bonne terre). Champ fertile. Terre fertile en blés, en vignes. Rendre un sol fertile. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Fertile — Fer tile (? or ?; 277), a. [L. fertilis, fr. ferre to bear, produce: cf. F. fertile. See {Bear} to support.] 1. Producing fruit or vegetation in abundance; fruitful; able to produce abundantly; prolific; fecund; productive; rich; inventive; as,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fertile — FERTILE. adj. de t. g. Fecond, Qui produit, qui rapporte beaucoup. Champ fertile. terre fertile. pays fertile. fertile en bled, en vin, &c. On dit fig. Un esprit fertile, pour dire, Un esprit qui produit facilement quantité de belles choses. Et,… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • fertile — Fertile, Fertilis, Foecundus, Huber. Champ fertile et abondant, Rus saturum. Fort fertile, Praefoecundus, Ferax. Lieu fertile, Locus fructuosissimus. Jardins fertiles, Foelices horti. Terre fertile, Solum laetum, B. Rendre fertile, Huberare,… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Fertile — Fertile, IA U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 360 Housing Units (2000): 161 Land area (2000): 0.940131 sq. miles (2.434927 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.940131 sq. miles (2.434927 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Fertile — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Fertile (Iowa) Fertile (Minnesota) Fertile (Missouri) Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichneter Begriffe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • fertile — [fʉrt′ l; fʉr′tīl΄] adj. [ME < OFr < L fertilis < stem of ferre, BEAR1] 1. producing abundantly; rich in resources or invention; fruitful; prolific 2. causing or helping fertility [the sun s fertile warmth] 3. able to produce young,… …   English World dictionary

  • Fertile, IA — U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 360 Housing Units (2000): 161 Land area (2000): 0.940131 sq. miles (2.434927 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.940131 sq. miles (2.434927 sq. km) FIPS code:… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Fertile, MN — U.S. city in Minnesota Population (2000): 893 Housing Units (2000): 433 Land area (2000): 1.892536 sq. miles (4.901645 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.892536 sq. miles (4.901645 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • fertile — I adjective arable, bearing offspring freely, creative, fecund, fecundus, feracious, ferax, fertilis, flowering, fructiferous, fructuous, fruitful, imaginative, ingenious, inventive, lush, luxuriant, original, originative, parturient,… …   Law dictionary


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