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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for fermenting
  • Fodder prepared by storing and fermenting green forage plants in a silo.
  • Now the people found a means of expressing their long fermenting discontent.
  • So much gas-primarily hydrogen-that if it builds up, it can stymie the fermenting bacteria's further growth.
  • Ethanol is a type of alcohol produced by fermenting plant matter.
  • Breaking up those chains and fermenting the sugars could yield a cornucopia of biofuels, without competing with food crops.
  • Phil tests out skin survival by fermenting a couple chickens.
  • Today the alcohol is made by fermenting sugarcane or corn.
  • For as long people have been fermenting things, they've been transforming the yeasty run-off into excuses for big parties.
  • Yeast in the cheese was fermenting the acid from the pepper and producing gas.
  • Petroleum based plastics are made by cracking petroleum, and bio-based plastics are made by fermenting sugars from plants.
British Dictionary definitions for fermenting


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 fermenting



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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fermenting 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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