fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən, -ˌmen-\

Definition of fermentation 

1a : a chemical change with effervescence

b : an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (such as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid) broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound

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Examples of fermentation in a Sentence

a wave of immigration followed by a period of social fermentation

Recent Examples on the Web

These could look like beer breweries, and, in fact, a brewery or some sort of fermentation factory is most similar at large scale to what cultured meat would look like. Angela Chen, The Verge, "These are the technology advances that could end animal farming," 9 Nov. 2018 The new collection will primarily focus on mixed-fermentation beers, which call for a variety of yeast and bacterias to create sour, funky brews. Kate Springer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside Hong Kong's Craft Beer Revolution," 17 Aug. 2018 Four years later, Vernor discovered the fermentation from the cask had resulted in what is now known as the distinct Vernors flavor. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Nearly 100-year-old bottle of Vernor's found in Detroit home," 5 June 2018 The Gaia was produced oxidatively, exposing the wine to small amounts of air, whether during fermentation or simply though the micro-oxygenation that takes place in barrels. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "From Campania’s Volcanic Soils, Whites in Multiple Colors," 31 May 2018 The two artists met while attending Brown University and eventually began experimenting with fermentation, playing with everything from ginger beer to kimchi before diving into alcoholic territory. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Brooklyn’s Newest Brewery Will Be Your Favorite Summer Spot," 26 June 2018 Something is missing from the fermentation, microbiology and enzyme labs: With robotic arms and other equipment performing repetitive measurements and other tasks, there are fewer technicians. Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "DuPont spends $200M+ to create its future in historic Experimental Station," 18 June 2018 The compounds are a byproduct of fermentation, formed when coffee is roasted, and released in greater amounts when the beans are ground. Raquel Rutledge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "10 coffee-roasters found to have high levels of dangerous chemicals in the air that make workers sick," 16 May 2018 Within a short time, Grahm had enrolled at the University of California at Davis, the M.I.T. of American fermentation, where winemaking had become an object of academic research. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "A Vintner’s Quest to Create a Truly American Wine," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fermentation.' 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 fermentation

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for fermentation

The first known use of fermentation was in 1601

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More Definitions for fermentation


fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of fermentation

: a chemical breaking down of a substance (as sugar) that is controlled by an enzyme, usually does not require oxygen, and typically results in the production of alcohol and carbon dioxide


fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən, -ˌmen- \

Medical Definition of fermentation 

1 : a chemical change with effervescence

2 : an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid) broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound

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Comments on fermentation

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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