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Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin fertilis, from ferre to carry, bear
- Date: 15th century
- 1 a : producing or bearing fruit in great quantities : productive
- b : characterized by great resourcefulness of thought or imagination : inventive <a fertile mind>
- c obsolete : plentiful
- 2 a (1) : capable of sustaining abundant plant growth <fertile soil> (2) : affording abundant possibilities for growth or development <damp bathrooms are fertile ground for fungi — Consumer Reports> <a fertile area for research>
- b : capable of growing or developing <a fertile egg>
- c (1) : capable of producing fruit (2) of an anther : containing pollen (3) : developing spores or spore-bearing organs d : capable of breeding or reproducing
- 3 : capable of being converted into fissionable material <fertile uranium 238>
- fecund, fruitful, prolific mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit.
Fertility is the natural capability of giving life. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. This is different from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction (influenced by gamete production, fertilisation and carrying a pregnancy to term). Infertility is a deficient fertility.
Human fertility depends on factors of nutrition, sexual behavior, culture, instinct, endocrinology, timing, economics, way of life, and emotions.