[ fur-men-tey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for fermentation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or process of fermenting.

  2. a change brought about by a ferment, as yeast enzymes, which convert grape sugar into ethyl alcohol.

  1. agitation; excitement.

Origin of fermentation

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English fermentacioun, from Late Latin fermentātiōn-, stem of fermentātiō, from Latin fermentāt(us) “fermented” (past participle of fermentāre “to ferment”; see ferment) + -iō -ion

Other words from fermentation

  • non·fer·men·ta·tion, noun
  • pre·fer·men·ta·tion, noun
  • self-fer·men·ta·tion, noun

Words Nearby fermentation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fermentation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fermentation


/ (ˌfɜːmɛnˈteɪʃən) /

  1. a chemical reaction in which a ferment causes an organic molecule to split into simpler substances, esp the anaerobic conversion of sugar to ethyl alcohol by yeast: Also called: ferment Related adjective: zymotic

Derived forms of fermentation

  • fermentative, adjective
  • fermentatively, adverb
  • fermentativeness, noun

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

Scientific definitions for fermentation


[ fûr′mĕn-tāshən ]

  1. The process by which complex organic compounds, such as glucose, are broken down by the action of enzymes into simpler compounds without the use of oxygen. Fermentation results in the production of energy in the form of two ATP molecules, and produces less energy than the aerobic process of cellular respiration. The other end products of fermentation differ depending on the organism. In many bacteria, fungi, protists, and animals cells (notably muscle cells in the body), fermentation produces lactic acid and lactate, carbon dioxide, and water. In yeast and most plant cells, fermentation produces ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, and water.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for fermentation


A chemical reaction in which sugars are broken down into smaller molecules that can be used in living systems. Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and whiskey, are made from the controlled use of fermentation. Fermentation is an anaerobic process.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.