[ fes-ter ]
See synonyms for: festerfesteredfestering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to form pus; generate purulent matter; suppurate.

  2. to cause ulceration, as a foreign body in the flesh.

  1. to putrefy or rot.

  2. to rankle, as a feeling of resentment.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to rankle: Malice festered his spirit.

  1. an ulcer; a rankling sore.

  2. a small, purulent, superficial sore.

Origin of fester

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

Other words from fester

  • un·fes·tered, adjective
  • un·fes·ter·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use fester in a sentence

  • A firm trust in His protecting care would have been a balm for every wound which festered and rankled at my heart's core.

  • Many saw a visitation for some secret sin, that otherwise might have festered inwardly and destroyed the immortal part.

    Cripps, the Carrier | R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore
  • The hot summer was on—Jacobus Laningdale had selected the time shrewdly—and the plague festered everywhere.

  • As the wound festered and made him loathsome to the army he was left in Lemnos in the first year of the war.

    Authors of Greece | T. W. Lumb
  • A nail, hidden behind the canvas entered his hand; the wound festered, and he died.

British Dictionary definitions for fester


/ (ˈfɛstə) /

  1. to form or cause to form pus

  2. (intr) to become rotten; decay

  1. to become or cause to become bitter, irritated, etc, esp over a long period of time; rankle: resentment festered his imagination

  2. (intr) informal to be idle or inactive

  1. a small ulcer or sore containing pus

Origin of 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