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

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 The federal government and all 50 states and the District of Columbia collect excise taxes on fermented malt beverages, according to the Tax Foundation. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Mexico tariffs: Cost to beer drinkers could be almost $1 billion," 6 June 2019 Both are ancient, fermented, lightly fizzy beverages that can be rich sources of probiotics and are popular with home-brewers. Ellie Krieger, The Seattle Times, "Move over, quinoa. Kvass and celtuce are the hot new health foods," 12 Apr. 2019 For the women in these pages, and with any luck for many more, the working world is shifting, fermenting, maturing. Mikael Jansson, Vogue, "14 Countries, 14 Superstars: The Global Actors Who Know No Limits," 14 Mar. 2019 Miho lifted the lid and gave me a peak of the mash that was fermenting for the daiginjo sake. Maiko Kyogoku, Bon Appetit, "Miho Imada Is Quietly Brewing Some of the Best Sake in the World," 18 Apr. 2018 The closest Wisconsin brewery in concept might be Funk Factory Geuzeria in Madison, which also ferments wort from partner breweries and sells tickets for bottle sales. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "1840 Brewing Co. doesn't brew beer and is only open once a month. So why is it a hit?," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

19 Jun 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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