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[faw-ster, fos-ter] /ˈfɔ stər, ˈfɒs tər/
verb (used with object)
to promote the growth or development of; further; encourage:
to foster new ideas.
to bring up, raise, or rear, as a foster child.
to care for or cherish.
British. to place (a child) in a foster home.
Obsolete. to feed or nourish.
Origin of foster
before 1000; Middle English; Old English fōstor nourishment, fōstrian to nourish; cognate with Old Norse fōstr; akin to food
Related forms
fosterer, noun
fosteringly, adverb
unfostered, adjective
unfostering, adjective
1. favor, forward, advance; foment, instigate. 2. nurse, nourish, sustain, support, maintain.
1. discourage.
Synonym Study
3. See cherish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fostered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The divine appetite once fostered, let it select its own food.

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • They said it "poisoned the soil" and fostered the growth of weeds.

    The Age of Invention Holland Thompson
  • We have—you have disproved the love I was so presumptuous as to believe you fostered for me.

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • Yet I blame not thee, but thy Sicilian mother, who has fostered this hostility in thee.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Hence a whole world of falsehood and dissimulation was fostered.

    St. Patrick's Eve Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for fostered


verb (transitive)
to promote the growth or development of
to bring up (a child, etc); rear
to cherish (a plan, hope, etc) in one's mind
(mainly Brit)
  1. to place (a child) in the care of foster parents
  2. to bring up under fosterage
(in combination) indicating relationship through fostering and not through birth: foster mother, foster child
(in combination) of or involved in the rearing of a child by persons other than his natural or adopted parents: foster home
Derived Forms
fosterer, noun
fostering, noun
Word Origin
Old English fōstrian to feed, from fōstorfood


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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
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Word Origin and History for fostered



Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostrom, from root *foth-/*fod- (see food).

Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c.1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, etc. Related: Fostered; fostering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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