[ faw-ster, fos-ter ]
/ ˈfɔ stər, ˈfɒs tər /
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verb (used with object)
to promote the growth or development of; further; encourage: to foster new ideas.
to bring up, raise, or rear, as a foster child.
to care for or cherish.
British. to place (a child) in a foster home.
Obsolete. to feed or nourish.
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Origin of foster

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.


fos·ter·er, nounfos·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·fos·tered, adjectiveun·fos·ter·ing, adjective

Other definitions for foster (2 of 2)

[ faw-ster, fos-ter ]
/ ˈfɔ stər, ˈfɒs tər /

Stephen (Collins), 1826–64, U.S. songwriter.
William Z(eb·u·lon) [zeb-yuh-luhn], /ˈzɛb yə lən/, 1881–1961, U.S. labor organizer: leader in the Communist Party.
a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use foster in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for foster (1 of 2)

/ (ˈfɒstə) /

verb (tr)
to promote the growth or development of
to bring up (a child, etc); rear
to cherish (a plan, hope, etc) in one's mind
mainly British
  1. to place (a child) in the care of foster parents
  2. to bring up under fosterage
(in combination) indicating relationship through fostering and not through birthfoster mother; foster child
(in combination) of or involved in the rearing of a child by persons other than his natural or adopted parentsfoster home

Derived forms of foster

fosterer, nounfostering, noun

Word Origin for foster

Old English fōstrian to feed, from fōstor food

British Dictionary definitions for foster (2 of 2)

/ (ˈfɒstə) /

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)
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)
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