• synonyms


[noun fur-ment; verb fer-ment]
  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.
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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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be fermented; undergo fermentation.
  2. to seethe with agitation or excitement.
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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

Examples from the Web for fermentable

Historical Examples of fermentable

  • The organism eats, if one may say so, one part of the fermentable matter.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

  • The last is used to convert starch into maltose, the first is used to convert maltose into fermentable sugar.

  • From this liquid he could pass to a second or third fermentable liquid composed in the same manner, and so on in succession.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

  • There is a remarkable difference, however, between their fermentable properties.

  • The technical name for the fermentable infusion of malted grain.

British Dictionary definitions for fermentable


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
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verb (fəˈmɛnt)
  1. to undergo or cause to undergo fermentation
  2. to stir up or seethe with excitement
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Derived Formsfermentable, adjectivefermentability, nounfermenter, noun

Word Origin for ferment

C15: from Latin fermentum yeast, from fervēre to seethe


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 fermentable



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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fermentable in Medicine


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