[ foh-ment ]
See synonyms for: fomentfomenter on

verb (used with object)
  1. to instigate or foster (discord, rebellion, etc.); promote the growth or development of: to foment trouble; to foment discontent.

  2. to apply warm water or medicated liquid, ointments, etc., to (the surface of the body).

Origin of foment

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English fomenten, from Late Latin fōmentāre, verbal derivative of Latin fōmentum “soothing application, poultice,” contraction of unattested fōvimentum, equivalent to fōv(ēre) “to keep warm” + -i- -i- + -mentum -ment

Other words for foment

Other words from foment

  • fo·ment·er, noun
  • un·fo·ment·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with foment

Words Nearby foment Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use foment in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for foment


/ (fəˈmɛnt) /

  1. to encourage or instigate (trouble, discord, etc); stir up

  2. med to apply heat and moisture to (a part of the body) to relieve pain and inflammation

Origin of foment

C15: from Late Latin fōmentāre, from Latin fōmentum a poultice, ultimately from fovēre to foster

usage For foment

Both foment and ferment can be used to talk about stirring up trouble: he was accused of fomenting/fermenting unrest . Only ferment can be used intransitively or as a noun: his anger continued to ferment (not foment); rural areas were unaffected by the ferment in the cities

Derived forms of foment

  • fomentation (ˌfəʊmɛnˈteɪʃən), noun
  • fomenter, 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