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

Essentially, Perfect Day gives microflora — a specific type of fungi — a blueprint through biotechnology that allows it to ferment sugar and create whey and casein. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area company releases ice cream made with real dairy but no cows, at $20 a pint," 11 July 2019 Some of the larger operations have a bioreactor to ferment the waste and produce methanol to fuel generators to produce electricity used in their operation. WSJ, "Polluting the Mississippi River and the Gulf," 11 July 2019 In Japanese skin care, that product in between oftentimes is an essence containing nutrient-rich fermented yeast extracts — and for good reason. Allure, "What You Need to Know About The “Skip Care” Skin-Care Trend," 14 June 2019 This dry, slightly effervescent rosé comes from Maryland’s Old Westminster Winery, which uses wild yeast to ferment its grapes, and then doesn’t filter or fine the wine, leaving it cloudy or hazy. Washington Post, "These local rosés are the perfect way to celebrate National Rosé Day in the D.C. area," 7 June 2019 By engaging with the city’s past, young Bratislavans seem to have fermented a resilient, even defiant, present. Tara Isabella Burton, WSJ, "Escape to Bratislava: A Secret Charmer on the Danube," 18 Sep. 2018 Chef Roger Létourneau, who also went to Belgium with fellow Edmontonian and Biera chef-owner Christine Sandford, complements a thoughtful cocktail menu with creative dishes featuring ingredients often fermented, smoked, pickled, or cultured. Destination Canada, Bon Appétit, "8 Not-to-Be-Missed Restaurants in Edmonton," 14 June 2019 Hence, for those same thousands of years, methods of curing them (drying, salting, washing, oiling) have fermented out most of the bitterness. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Marinating olives, Sicilian style and simply," 12 June 2019 Botulism is often associated with improperly fermented, preserved or home-canned foods. Jess Nocera, baltimoresun.com, "Case of botulism identified in Howard County," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Undiluted cane juice ferments naturally in the hot tropical climate — the open tanks attract natural yeasts. chicagotribune.com, "How the Haitian spirit clairin is more like mezcal than rum," 9 July 2019 Different beers take different amounts of time to ferment, usually between 5 to 10 days. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Here’s How to Turn Old Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies, and Corn Flakes Into Beer," 14 June 2019 The dough, made with a family heirloom sourdough starter (which has been kept alive for 64 years, ever since his aunt started baking with it), ferments for 48 hours before being formed, loaded and baked in a 650-degree oven for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Amy Scattergood, latimes.com, "How many pizzas can you eat? Depends on how many cacio e pepe pizzas there are," 13 June 2019 Transferred to oak barrels, the beer ferments for a year or longer, each barrel varying according to the microbes’ whims. Daniel Fromson, New York Times, "American Beers With a Pungent Whiff of Place," 26 Jan. 2018 But the creative ferment this marker celebrated reminds us of our previous good fortune. Don Hall And Dave Beal, Twin Cities, "Hall, Beal: Resurrecting the spirit of St. Paul’s entrepreneurial legacy," 16 June 2019 Step 2: Sweet tea ferments in tanks with 2,000 gallons of symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, known as SCOBY, which looks like a giant phlegm Frisbee. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make Gasoline From Tea," 15 May 2019 This fertile ferment continues without much change for 700 years, presided over by the bishop, at one end of the island, and the king at the other. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 Last but certainly not least, there has been considerable ferment in the engineering of artificial anyon systems. Quanta Magazine, "Inside the Knotty World of ‘Anyon’ Particles," 28 Feb. 2017

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

17 Jul 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

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