9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[fes-ter] /ˈfɛs tər/
verb (used without object)
to form pus; generate purulent matter; suppurate.
to cause ulceration, as a foreign body in the flesh.
to putrefy or rot.
to rankle, as a feeling of resentment.
verb (used with object)
to cause to rankle:
Malice festered his spirit.
an ulcer; a rankling sore.
a small, purulent, superficial sore.
Origin of fester
1350-1400; (noun) Middle English festir, festre < Anglo-French, Old French festre < Latin fistula fistula (for -l- > -r- cf. chapter); (v.) Middle English festryn, derivative of the noun or < Old French festrir
Related forms
unfestered, adjective
unfestering, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for fester
  • Diseases might fester because the urinals weren't being washed down with every use.
  • He no longer lets little mistakes fester or pouts when the ball doesn't come his way.
  • Letting the problem fester can make raising debt more expensive in the future.
  • So daft strategies fester rather than getting culled quickly.
  • What an excellent summary of the dynamic that has allowed countries' debt woes to fester.
  • We can continue to see this conflict to fester and worsen leading to more bloodshed and violence.
  • And illiquidity easily breeds insolvency if panic is allowed to fester.
  • Until this disparity is reconciled, the crisis will fester.
  • But the problems weren't allowed to fester, and now the program is back on track.
  • The outcome of misguided infatuations in stores or at street vendors, hats tend to fester in the upper reaches of our closets.
British Dictionary definitions for fester


to form or cause to form pus
(intransitive) to become rotten; decay
to become or cause to become bitter, irritated, etc, esp over a long period of time; rankle: resentment festered his imagination
(intransitive) (informal) to be idle or inactive
a small ulcer or sore containing pus
Word Origin
C13: from Old French festre suppurating sore, from Latin: fistula
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for fester

late 14c., from Old French festre "small sore discharging pus," from Latin fistula "pipe, ulcer" (see fistula). The noun is from c.1300. Related: Festered; festering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
fester in Medicine

fester fes·ter (fěs'tər)
v. fes·tered, fes·ter·ing, fes·ters

  1. To ulcerate.

  2. To form pus; putrefy.

An ulcer.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fester

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fester

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fester

Nearby words for fester