[ fes-ter ]
/ ˈfɛs tər /

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to cause to rankle: Malice festered his spirit.


an ulcer; a rankling sore.
a small, purulent, superficial sore.

Nearby words

  1. fessenden, william pitt,
  2. fest,
  3. festa,
  4. festal,
  5. festally,
  6. festina lente,
  7. festinant,
  8. festinate,
  9. festinately,
  10. festination

Origin of fester

1350–1400; (noun) Middle English festir, festre < Anglo-French, Old French festre < Latin fistula fistula (for -l- > -r- cf. chapter); (v.) Middle English festryn, derivative of the noun or < Old French festrir

Related formsun·fes·tered, adjectiveun·fes·ter·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fester

British Dictionary definitions for fester


/ (ˈfɛstə) /


to form or cause to form pus
(intr) to become rotten; decay
to become or cause to become bitter, irritated, etc, esp over a long period of time; rankleresentment festered his imagination
(intr) informal to be idle or inactive


a small ulcer or sore containing pus

Word Origin for fester

C13: from Old French festre suppurating sore, from Latin: fistula

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 fester



late 14c., from Old French festre "small sore discharging pus," from Latin fistula "pipe, ulcer" (see fistula). The noun is from c.1300. Related: Festered; festering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for fester


[ fĕstər ]


To ulcerate.
To form pus; putrefy.


An ulcer.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.