[ faw-ster, fos-ter ]
See synonyms for foster on
verb (used with object)
  1. to promote the growth or development of; further; encourage: to foster new ideas.

  2. to care for a foster child or a pet as a temporary guardian: The couple fostered two boys until they could be reunited with their birth parents.Have you ever fostered a kitten that you just couldn’t part from afterwards?

  1. to care for or cherish.

  2. British. to place (a child) in a foster home.

  3. Obsolete. to feed or nourish.

Origin of foster

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English fōstor “nourishment,” fōstrian “to nourish”; cognate with Old Norse fōstr; akin to food

synonym study For foster

3. See cherish.

Other words for foster

Opposites for foster

Other words from foster

  • fos·ter·er, noun
  • fos·ter·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·fos·ter·ing, adjective

Words Nearby foster

Other definitions for Foster (2 of 2)

[ faw-ster, fos-ter ]

  1. Stephen (Collins), 1826–64, U.S. songwriter.

  2. William Z(eb·u·lon) [zeb-yuh-luhn], /ˈzɛb yə lən/, 1881–1961, U.S. labor organizer: leader in the Communist Party.

  1. a male given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use foster in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for foster (1 of 2)


/ (ˈfɒstə) /

  1. to promote the growth or development of

  2. to bring up (a child, etc); rear

  1. to cherish (a plan, hope, etc) in one's mind

  2. mainly British

    • to place (a child) in the care of foster parents

    • to bring up under fosterage

  1. (in combination) indicating relationship through fostering and not through birth: foster mother; foster child

  2. (in combination) of or involved in the rearing of a child by persons other than his natural or adopted parents: foster home

Origin of foster

Old English fōstrian to feed, from fōstor food

Derived forms of foster

  • fosterer, noun
  • fostering, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Foster (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfɒstə) /

  1. Jodie . born 1962, US film actress and director: her films include Taxi Driver (1976), The Accused (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1990), Little Man Tate (1991; also directed), Nell (1995), and Panic Room (2002)

  2. Norman, Baron. born 1935, British architect. His works include the Willis Faber building (1978) in Ipswich, Stansted Airport, Essex (1991), Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong (1998), the renovation of the Reichstag, Berlin (1999), and City Hall, London (2002)

  1. Stephen Collins . 1826–64, US composer of songs such as The Old Folks at Home and Oh Susanna

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