ferment

verb
fer·​ment | \(ˌ)fər-ˈment \
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 also (ˌ)fər-ˈment \

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

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Other Words from ferment

Verb

fermentable \ (ˌ)fər-​ˈmen-​tə-​bəl \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Little Tart is a blend of apple and cranberry juices (the cranberry juice comes from Wareham bogs) fermented together and then sweetened with cane sugar. Ellen Albanese, BostonGlobe.com, "Where better to enjoy a local craft cider than the Cape?," 6 June 2018 Now his descendants and their neighbors can raise a glass of beer brewed with yeast that once fermented back in James Squire’s day. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Australian Brewers Are Making Beer From Yeast Found on a Shipwreck," 7 May 2018 Once the hot sauce has fermented, pour it back into the Vitamix Personal Cup Adaptor and blend on level 1, increasing to level 2 for about 30 seconds until frothy. Vitamix, Bon Appetit, "Jalapeño-Honeydew Hot Sauce," 11 June 2018 Elsewhere in the Willamette Valley, Big Table Farm’s 2015 Pinot Gris ($32) is made ramato-style, by fermenting the grapes on their stems and skins. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "The rebranding of organic wine," 28 June 2018 In two weeks, this thin barley broth, called wort, will ferment into beer, be transferred to kegs, and poured from the taps on the other side of the cinder block wall. Lara Korte, WSJ, "New York Sees Boom in Craft Breweries, With More on Tap," 12 July 2018 Other than red fermented tofu, most of the traditional ingredients of siu mei are easy to find in Asian markets (and many supermarkets). Julia Moskin, New York Times, "Mastering Chinese-Style Ribs at Home," 9 July 2018 This twist, flavored with the mellow Korean-style fermented red chile paste called gochujang, gives the fish an alluring spicy-sweet depth. Sunset, "5 Killer Ideas for a Big-Batch Feast," 22 Jan. 2018 Nan ru is tofu that is brined and fermented with rice that has been inoculated with a deep red strain of mold. Julia Moskin, New York Times, "Mastering Chinese-Style Ribs at Home," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Amid this ferment, a leading Iraqi cleric, Abdel Majid al-Khoei, was killed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, shocking millions of followers. Margaret Coker, New York Times, "Once Hated by U.S. and Tied to Iran, Is Sadr Now ‘Face of Reform’ in Iraq?," 20 May 2018 The 3-year-old startup ferments yeast cells that are genetically programmed to synthesize animal collagen, the primary protein in skin, cartilage and tendons. Jonathan Kauffman, San Francisco Chronicle, "The next generation of clothing is coming. It’s made by microbes.," 19 Apr. 2018 The primary foes have had seven weeks to ferment since the state Democratic convention, where the Greenwich telecommunications magnate Lamont overwhelmingly clinched the party’s endorsement. Neil Vigdor, courant.com, "Ned Lamont And Joe Ganim On A Collision Course Toward First Head-To-Head Debate," 11 July 2018 Psychic TV has been led by the wildly prolific Genesis P-Orridge since the group was formed in the post-punk ferment of 1981. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "At Moogfest, Electronics Stimulate Ears and Emotions," 21 May 2018 If mixture isn’t ready, cover and let ferment another day. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Tepache pineapple drink," 3 July 2018 How ironic that out of the 21 presidential wannabes in that last election cycle, only the billionaire New Yorker detected and tapped into that ferment. Andrew Malcolm, SFChronicle.com, "Is Donald Trump chief executive or executive producer?," 28 June 2018 Farm 779 is joining the growing lineup of vendors at the market with ferments, kombucha and kvass. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Fresh seafood, new vendors are cropping up at Anchorage markets," 13 June 2018 Typically, ideas for new beers ferment at the Open Gate Brewery, a pilot system that opens to the public on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Tara Nurin, Philly.com, "In Dublin, a story of whiskey is more than just one night at the pub," 8 June 2018

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.

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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

Verb

see ferment entry 2

Noun

Middle English, from Latin fermentum yeast — more at barm

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Statistics for ferment

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ferment

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

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More Definitions for ferment

ferment

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ferment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

ferment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ferment (Entry 2 of 2)

: a situation in which there is much excitement and confusion caused by change

ferment

verb
fer·​ment | \fər-ˈment \
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 \

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

fer·​ment | \(ˌ)fər-ˈment \

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 \ 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

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Comments on ferment

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