• synonyms


[faw-ster, fos-ter]
verb (used with object)
  1. to promote the growth or development of; further; encourage: to foster new ideas.
  2. to bring up, raise, or rear, as a foster child.
  3. to care for or cherish.
  4. British. to place (a child) in a foster home.
  5. 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
Related formsfos·ter·er, nounfos·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·fos·tered, adjectiveun·fos·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for foster

Synonym study

3. See cherish.

Antonyms for foster

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fosterer

Historical Examples of fosterer

  • It is the parent, the fosterer, the sole supporter of the slave-trade.

    The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)

    John Greenleaf Whittier

  • The wolf's cub feels he is cutting his teeth, and wants to bite his fosterer.

    The Bee Hunters

    Gustave Aimard

  • Then, in a lower tone, she addressed herself to the fosterer.

  • But Knut is to his fosterer gone To deal in deeds of peace alone.

    Poems by the Way

    William Morris

  • Thorkel the Fosterer, Amunde's son, as before related, was all that winter with him.


    Snorri Sturlason

British Dictionary definitions for fosterer


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

Word Origin for foster

Old English fōstrian to feed, from fōstor food


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



Old English *fostrian "to supply with food, nourish, support," from fostor "food, nourishment, bringing up," from Proto-Germanic *fostrom, from root *foth-/*fod- (see food).

Meaning "to bring up a child with parental care" is from c.1200; that of "to encourage or help grow" is early 13c. of things; 1560s of feelings, ideas, etc. Old English also had the adjective meaning "in the same family but not related," in fostorfæder, etc. Related: Fostered; fostering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper