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[n. fur-ment; v. fer-ment] /n. ˈfɜr mɛnt; v. fərˈmɛnt/
Also called organized ferment. any of a group of living organisms, as yeasts, molds, and certain bacteria, that cause fermentation.
Also called unorganized ferment. an enzyme.
agitation; unrest; excitement; commotion; tumult:
The new painters worked in a creative ferment. The capital lived in a political ferment.
verb (used with object)
to act upon as a ferment.
to cause to undergo fermentation.
to inflame; foment:
to ferment prejudiced crowds to riot.
to cause agitation or excitement in:
Reading fermented his active imagination.
verb (used without object)
to be fermented; undergo fermentation.
to seethe with agitation or excitement.
Origin of ferment
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin fermentum yeast (noun), fermentāre to cause to rise (v.); akin to barm, Latin fervēre to boil
Related forms
fermentable, adjective
fermentability, noun
nonfermentability, noun
nonfermentable, adjective
nonfermented, adjective
nonfermenting, adjective
unfermentable, adjective
unfermented, adjective
unfermenting, adjective
well-fermented, adjective
Can be confused
ferment, foment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ferment
  • He said fruit juices and liquid honey in a temperate climate would easily ferment, allowing for the production of alcohol.
  • Then, you'll need to ferment something starchy or sugary to get some alcohol.
  • In the end, though, the ferment caused by these revelations may work to the advantage of the spooks.
  • Their digestive enzymes ferment the beans and break down the proteins.
  • The bacteria ferment sugars and secrete gluey polymers that form the basis of plaque.
  • At that time, molecular biology was undergoing tremendous intellectual ferment.
  • Almost all of this water is used to boil, ferment, and distill the biofuel.
  • There are initiatives already in place to extract lignin from woody tissue and ferment the cellulose at much higher value.
  • They let us gauge the function or dysfunction of the clan, see how our hopes ferment, our kids grow and ripen.
  • Despite all the ferment, there is some reason to question whether fundamental change has taken place.
British Dictionary definitions for ferment


noun (ˈfɜːmɛnt)
any agent or substance, such as a bacterium, mould, yeast, or enzyme, that causes fermentation
another word for fermentation
commotion; unrest
verb (fəˈmɛnt)
to undergo or cause to undergo fermentation
to stir up or seethe with excitement
Derived Forms
fermentable, adjective
fermentability, noun
fermenter, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin fermentum yeast, from fervēre to seethe
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
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Word Origin and History for ferment

late 14c., from Old French fermenter (13c.) and directly from Latin fermentare "to leaven, ferment," from fermentum "substance causing fermentation, leaven," from root of fervere "to boil, seethe" (see brew). Figurative use from 1650s. Related: Fermented; fermenting.


early 15c., from Middle French ferment, from Latin fermentum (see ferment (v.)). Figurative sense of "anger, passion" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ferment in Medicine

ferment fer·ment (fûr'měnt')

  1. An agent, as a yeast, a bacterium, a mold, or an enzyme, that causes fermentation.

  2. Fermentation.

v. fer·ment·ed, fer·ment·ing, fer·ments (fər-měnt')
To cause or undergo fermentation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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