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ferment

[noun fur-ment; verb fer-ment]
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noun
  1. Also called organized ferment. any of a group of living organisms, as yeasts, molds, and certain bacteria, that cause fermentation.
  2. Also called unorganized ferment. an enzyme.
  3. fermentation.
  4. agitation; unrest; excitement; commotion; tumult: The new painters worked in a creative ferment. The capital lived in a political ferment.
verb (used with object)
  1. to act upon as a ferment.
  2. to cause to undergo fermentation.
  3. to inflame; foment: to ferment prejudiced crowds to riot.
  4. to cause agitation or excitement in: Reading fermented his active imagination.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be fermented; undergo fermentation.
  2. to seethe with agitation or excitement.

Origin of ferment

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin fermentum yeast (noun), fermentāre to cause to rise (v.); akin to barm, Latin fervēre to boil
Related formsfer·ment·a·ble, adjectivefer·ment·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·fer·ment·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·fer·ment·a·ble, adjectivenon·fer·ment·ed, adjectivenon·fer·ment·ing, adjectiveun·fer·ment·a·ble, adjectiveun·fer·ment·ed, adjectiveun·fer·ment·ing, adjectivewell-fer·ment·ed, adjective
Can be confusedferment foment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ferment

ferment

noun (ˈfɜːmɛnt)
  1. any agent or substance, such as a bacterium, mould, yeast, or enzyme, that causes fermentation
  2. another word for fermentation
  3. commotion; unrest
verb (fəˈmɛnt)
  1. to undergo or cause to undergo fermentation
  2. to stir up or seethe with excitement
Derived Formsfermentable, adjectivefermentability, nounfermenter, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin fermentum yeast, from fervēre to seethe

xref

See foment
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ferment

v.

late 14c., from Old French fermenter (13c.) and directly from Latin fermentare "to leaven, ferment," from fermentum "substance causing fermentation, leaven," from root of fervere "to boil, seethe" (see brew). Figurative use from 1650s. Related: Fermented; fermenting.

n.

early 15c., from Middle French ferment, from Latin fermentum (see ferment (v.)). Figurative sense of "anger, passion" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ferment in Medicine

ferment

(fûrmĕnt′)
n.
  1. An agent, as a yeast, bacterium, mold, or enzyme, that causes fermentation.
  2. Fermentation.
v.
  1. To cause or undergo fermentation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.