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

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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 As animal fiber makes its way through the digestive tract, microbes partially ferment it. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Is Ivory So Precious? And More Questions From Our Readers," 10 July 2020 The surface is seeded with bacteria that begin to ferment the surface cellulose into nanofibers. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Solar-Powered Nanotubes Could Bring Water to the World," 9 July 2020 Hunter begins on Friday developing the starter, then Saturday morning gets up early to mix and ferment the dough, shape the bagels and make the schmear flavors. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area cooks fire up home businesses, bringing food from their kitchens to your doorstep," 7 June 2020 One strategy is to make citrus kosho, the Japanese fermented condiment. Tamar Adler, The New Yorker, "All the Ways to Not Waste Your Citrus Peels," 30 May 2020 The name Mayawell is a play on Mayahuel, the Aztec name for the goddess of agave, a spiny-leafed plant native to the Americas that people have long fermented into alcoholic drinks, and eventually learned to strengthen through distillation. Eric Velasco, al, "Mayawell bar familiarizes Birmingham with agave spirits," 12 May 2020 The pina, or heart, is crushed and steamed to extract its sweet juices, which are fermented and then double-distilled. Eric Velasco, al, "Mayawell bar familiarizes Birmingham with agave spirits," 12 May 2020 From Portugal, the Aphros Phaunus, made of the loureiro grape, was fermented in amphorae. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Polarizing Power of Orange Wine," 7 May 2020 Xanthan gum is produced when sugar is fermented by bacteria. Kendra Nordin Beato, The Christian Science Monitor, "No flour? No problem. How to bake with workarounds.," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After the First World War, millions of workers began protesting that their wages lagged far behind inflation, and many police officers got swept up in the ferment. Steven Greenhouse, The New Yorker, "How Police-Union Power Helped Increase Abuses," 18 June 2020 Without this magnificent ferment among Negroes, the old evasions and procrastinations would have continued indefinitely. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, "How Do We Change America?," 8 June 2020 Amid all of this ferment, talented social-democratic politicians like F.D.R., Clement Attlee, and Per Albin Hansson put together coalitions of voters to support far-reaching reforms that lasted decades. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Will the Coronavirus Create a More Progressive Society or a More Dystopian One?," 1 May 2020 And that effort is spread over three days of patient waiting as the dough slowly ferments and raises. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "The ambitious dishes San Antonio cooks are tackling in their extra coronavirus-era time at home: macarons, croissants, char siu pork, masterful meatloaf," 13 May 2020 Be sure to check out Bear Claw Vineyard for its beautiful view or Mercier Orchards, the only apple orchard in Georgia that grows, presses, ferments and bottles their own hard apple cider and farm wines. Claire Trageser, Travel + Leisure, "The 50 Best Romantic Getaways," 28 Apr. 2020 Some farmers have anaerobic digesters, which ferment waste to produce methane gas used for energy. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Why farmers are forced to let food rot during the shutdown while others go hungry," 16 Apr. 2020 It's got a distinguished, almost tangy flavor that develops by letting the dough ferment in an overnight rise. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "Focaccia Art Is the Prettiest (and Tastiest) Food Trend Taking Over Social Media," 15 Apr. 2020 The bread crafted at Hewn ferments for 20 hours, and for four of those hours it is turned every 30 minutes. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, "Hewn, baker of bread used at Sweetgreen, is moving to larger space in Evanston to accommodate demand," 18 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for ferment

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ferment

Last Updated

15 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ferment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferment. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for ferment

ferment

verb
How to pronounce ferment (audio)

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
How to pronounce ferment (audio) How to pronounce ferment (audio)

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

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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