ferment, foment

In the sense of causing trouble, these words can be used interchangeably: "Rebel soldiers fomented (or fermented) unrest among the people." Ferment literally means "to act upon as a ferment," that is, to cause the giving off of gases that induce bubbling and rising: "The mash will ferment for several days." Because fermentation is a state of unrest and agitation, as a noun ferment means "excitement," "commotion," and "tumult": "The lover's mind was a ferment of emotions." To foment is "to cause rebellion or discord," "to incite," "to arouse," "to inflame": "The inmates of the prison tried to foment a rebellion against the guards." Foment, a verb only, conveys the idea of causing unrest; ferment, both noun and verb, stresses the idea of being in, rather than causing, a state of unrest.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ferment — ferment, foment 1. Ferment is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable as a noun and with the stress on the second syllable as a verb. 2. As verbs, ferment and foment are often confused because they are pronounced approximately the same… …   Modern English usage

  • foment — ferment, foment 1. Ferment is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable as a noun and with the stress on the second syllable as a verb. 2. As verbs, ferment and foment are often confused because they are pronounced approximately the same… …   Modern English usage

  • foment — See ferment. See ferment, foment …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • ferment — See ferment, foment …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • ferment — [n1] substance causing chemicals to split into simpler substances bacteria, bacterium, barm, ebullition, enzyme, fermentation agent, leaven, leavening, mold, seethe, simmer, yeast; concept 478 ferment [n2] agitation, uprising ailment, brouhaha,… …   New thesaurus

  • Foment — Fo ment, n. 1. Fomentation. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. State of excitation; perh. confused with ferment. He came in no conciliatory mood, and the foment was kept up. Julian Ralph. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • foment — I verb abet, agitate, aid, arouse, awaken, call forth, encourage, engender, enkindle, excite, ferment, fire, foster, fovere, galvanize, goad, impassion, incite, infect, inflame, infuse life into, inspirit, instigate, kindle, promote, provoke,… …   Law dictionary

  • ferment — index agitate (activate), catalyst, commotion, confusion (turmoil), discompose, disturb, disturbance …   Law dictionary

  • ferment — noun /ˈfɜmɛnt / (say ferment) 1. any of various agents or substances which cause fermentation, especially: a. any of various living organisms (organised ferments), as yeasts, moulds, certain bacteria, etc. b. any of certain complex substances… …   Australian English dictionary

  • ferment — fermentable, adj. fermentability, n. n. /ferr ment/; v. /feuhr ment /, n. 1. Also called organized ferment. any of a group of living organisms, as yeasts, molds, and certain bacteria, that cause fermentation. 2. Also called unorganized ferment.… …   Universalium

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