ferment

verb
fer·​ment | \ (ˌ)fər-ˈment How to pronounce ferment (audio) \
fermented; fermenting; ferments

Definition of ferment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to undergo fermentation The wine ferments in oak barrels.
2 : to be in a state of agitation or intense activity everything ferments in him—his thoughts, sensations, and memories; nothing stays quiet— Janet Flanner

transitive verb

1 : to cause to undergo fermentation Yeast ferments the sugar in the juice.
2 : to work up (as into a state of agitation) : foment

ferment

noun
fer·​ment | \ ˈfər-ˌment How to pronounce ferment (audio) also (ˌ)fər-ˈment How to pronounce ferment (audio) \

Definition of ferment (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a living organism (such as a yeast) that causes fermentation by virtue of its enzymes
b : enzyme
2a : a state of unrest : agitation
b : a process of active often disorderly development the great period of creative ferment in literature— William Barrett

Other Words from ferment

Verb

fermentable \ (ˌ)fər-​ˈmen-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce ferment (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ferment in a Sentence

Verb The wine ferments in oak barrels. Yeast ferments the sugar in the juice. Noun The city was in a state of ferment after the election. the city was in ferment as its residents nervously awaited the airborne invasion that was sure to come
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When not foraging for moss, juniper and pine needles, the teenager learned to ferment moose sausages and fry breaded pig heads on a skewer. Dania Maxwell, Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2022 Typical pizza doughs, like most breads, rely on yeast to ferment and produce carbon dioxide bubbles. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Mar. 2022 Egger has raised $20 million for her BioMilq from buzzy backers like Bill Gates to grow breast milk from human cells, while Katz has raised $25 million from VCs and angel investors to ferment yeast into synthetic human milk. Alexandra Sternlicht, Forbes, 28 May 2022 Padilla-Brown had managed to ferment cacao beans with Cordyceps mycelium, a difficult trick given its temperamental nature. Doug Bierend, Outside Online, 10 Mar. 2021 The goal, the couple said in a release, is to raise $30,000 to buy the trees and equipment needed to ferment more than 2,000 cases of cider for the first year in operation. Marc Bona, cleveland, 14 June 2022 The grapes are pressed and sealed in containers to ferment, just like any other wine. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 8 June 2022 Read full article Carbonic maceration, in its purest form, describes a process where whole clusters of intact grapes begin to ferment from the inside out, sealed in a tank filled with carbon dioxide or other inert gas to displace oxygen. Ellen Bhang, BostonGlobe.com, 7 June 2022 In warm temperatures, the yeast will ferment and lead to over-carbonation in the cans. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now, though, all of that cultural ferment is buttressing a season of unbelievable bravery. New York Times, 15 July 2022 Their small group became its own source of revolutionary ferment: The sense of patriotism felt by each fueled the others, and set them on their extraordinarily courageous paths. Talya Zax, The Atlantic, 26 June 2022 All this cultural ferment ended first in the usual way, and then in an unusual way that haunted all the participants. Dominic Green, WSJ, 24 June 2022 And of course, universities need to brace for what’s likely to be a new round of student protest, debate and ferment by antiabortion activists and pro-choice advocates alike. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Speaking of which, the postbiotics added to improve the skin microbiome, particularly lactobacillus ferment and — wait for it — hyaluronic acid, are considered inactive. Devon Abelman, Allure, 8 June 2022 The text is also instructional, explaining how to fillet a whole fish, ferment and pickle, and use layering to achieve unorthodox flavor combinations. Von Diaz, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 Aloe vera, crystalline coconut and kimchi ferment provide plumping hydration. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 May 2022 Pomegranate seed oil and lactobacillus ferment ensure this cleanser is gentle, soothing, and suitable for daily use. Rolling Stone, 20 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ferment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ferment

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ferment

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Latin fermentum yeast — more at barm

Learn More About ferment

Time Traveler for ferment

Time Traveler

The first known use of ferment was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ferment

fermata

ferment

fermentability

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ferment

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ferment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferment. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ferment

ferment

verb
fer·​ment | \ fər-ˈment How to pronounce ferment (audio) \
fermented; fermenting

Kids Definition of ferment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to go through a chemical change that results in the production of alcohol

ferment

noun
fer·​ment | \ ˈfər-ˌment How to pronounce ferment (audio) \

Kids Definition of ferment (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something (as yeast) that causes fermentation
2 : an excited state Methuselah was in a ferment of eagerness …— Brian Jacques, Redwall

ferment

intransitive verb
fer·​ment | \ (ˌ)fər-ˈment How to pronounce ferment (audio) \

Medical Definition of ferment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to undergo fermentation

transitive verb

: to cause to undergo fermentation

Other Words from ferment

fermentable \ -​ə-​bəl How to pronounce ferment (audio) \ adjective

ferment

noun
fer·​ment | \ ˈfər-ˌment also (ˌ)fər-ˈ \

Medical Definition of ferment (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a living organism (as a yeast) that causes fermentation by virtue of its enzymes
b : enzyme

More from Merriam-Webster on ferment

Nglish: Translation of ferment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferment for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!