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 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

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Other Words from ferment

Verb

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

My Chinese barbecue pork is done more classically, where the coloring comes from the smoke and fermented bean curd that is in the marinade itself. Louisa Chu, chicagotribune.com, "Eat This! Hermosa restaurant's 554 sandwich, homage to Chinatown icon," 28 June 2018 Lett is fond of curing fish and fermenting vegetables; yuzu kosho and toasted seaweed; miso, shiso and cod. Jonathan Gold, latimes.com, "Jonathan Gold finds Travis Lett's izakaya MTN to be Peak Venice — and pretty Japanese too," 25 May 2018 Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garlic bread and fermented green chile sauce. Leilani Marie Labong, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Dutch Oven Clam Bake," 11 May 2018 The brewers used the same hop, grain and water profiles, but each fermented the beer with their own strain of yeast. Daniel Barnes, sacbee, "Everything from craft to 'Old School' is on tap here | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 This ramato-style Pinot Gris represents the funkiest side of Lodi wine: skin-fermented for a week, whole-cluster. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tasting notes: The diverse, dynamic wines of Lodi," 20 May 2018 Doctors believe that the bacteria in your gut tends to ferment these carbohydrate sugars, creating gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane in the GI tract, Dr. Eugenio says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Bloated?," 29 Oct. 2018 In rural Kerala, coconut-palm sap is fermented into a funky alcoholic drink called toddy. Max Falkowitz, WSJ, "Flake News: Fresh Coconut Is Delicious," 23 Nov. 2018 Jung’s personal favorite—those green tea leaves are also fermented twice after handpicking to further enhance their anti-aging properties prior to extraction. Vogue, "South Korea’s Jeju Island Has the Best Beaches, Freshest Seafood, and the Makings for the Best Beauty Products Ever—Green Tea," 18 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Milan Starbucks is opening during a moment of ferment for the coffee industry. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "After 25,000 Stores in 78 Countries, Starbucks Turns to Italy," 6 Sep. 2018 Agave plants can take decades to ripen, are a pain to harvest and ferment, and require serious skill—and a bit of good luck—to distill into something delicious. Max Falkowitz, GQ, "How to Buy the Best Mezcal Like a Pro," 11 Jan. 2018 Made from the same grapes as white wine, orange wine gets its distinct hue from letting the juices of the fruit ferment with its skins and seeds. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "12 Health Food Trends to Be on the Lookout for in 2019," 11 Dec. 2018 But just as important as taking the leap is knowing how to navigate the endless options on the market—from supplements to kefirs and jar ferments—as well as how the rest of your lifestyle plays into honing the benefits of a probiotic. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Complete Guide to Probiotics, From Supplements to Kombucha," 16 Oct. 2018 Both are made from milk that's been cultured and allowed to ferment. Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "What Is Greek Yogurt? And How Is It Different Than Regular Yogurt?," 19 Jan. 2018 The grapes are pressed and sealed in containers to ferment, just like any other wine. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret to champagne’s universal appeal is the physics of bubbles," 31 Dec. 2018 The milky emulsion also contains leucidal liquid, which is a natural preservative comprised of radish root ferment that has anti-bacterial properties i.e. your hair will also get a nice natural cleanse in the process. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, ""Hair Water" Is the Ancient Japanese Beauty Trend Making a Big Comeback Right Now," 23 Mar. 2016 Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume. Noor Brara, Vogue, "Samin Nosrat Wants Viewers to Cook What They See on Her New Netflix Show, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," 19 Oct. 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

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Latin fermentum yeast — more at barm

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Statistics for ferment

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

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 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
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 fermentable (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ferment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ferment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ferment

Spanish Central: Translation of ferment

Nglish: Translation of ferment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ferment for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ferment

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