fester

verb
fes·​ter | \ ˈfe-stər How to pronounce fester (audio) \
festered; festering\ ˈfe-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Definition of fester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to generate pus The wound became inflamed and festered.
2 : putrefy, rot festering carrion
3a : to cause increasing poisoning, irritation, or bitterness : rankle dissent festered unchecked His resentment festered for years.
b : to undergo or exist in a state of progressive deterioration allowed slums to fester

transitive verb

: to make inflamed or corrupt

fester

noun

Definition of fester (Entry 2 of 2)

: a suppurating sore : pustule

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Synonyms for fester

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?

Noun

Fester first entered English as a noun in the early 14th century. It was originally used as we now use the word fistula, for an abnormal passage leading from an abscess or hollow organ and permitting passage of fluids or secretions. It later came to refer to a sore that discharges pus. The connection between "fester" and "fistula" is no accident - both descend from Latin fistula, which has the same meaning as the English word but can also mean "pipe" or "tube" or "a kind of ulcer." "Fester" made the trip from Latin to English by way of Anglo-French. By the end of the 14th century, it was also being used as a verb meaning "to generate pus," a use that has since developed extended senses implying a worsening state.

Examples of fester in a Sentence

Verb His wounds festered for days before he got medical attention. His feelings of resentment have festered for years. We should deal with these problems now instead of allowing them to fester. Noun pus oozed out of the fester
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As friction mounted, city officials underreacted, allowing the situation to fester while trying to please all sides, only to then swoop in with a heavy hand. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: In Echo Park, a glaring example of L.A.'s failed leadership on homelessness," 25 Mar. 2021 The unwillingness to roll back on reopening measures even when cases worsened compromised national efforts to contain the virus last year, Lushniak said, allowing pockets of transmission to fester and spread. Washington Post, "Coronavirus cases are falling. But local officials say it’s too soon to ease most restrictions.," 19 Feb. 2021 Some in Incline say the problem has been allowed to fester because their town is relatively small and isolated from the bulk of Washoe residents outside the Tahoe basin. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tahoe's last holdout is about to pass new rules on Airbnb, Vrbo rentals. Residents aren't happy," 21 Mar. 2021 The converse is also true: to restrict access to information is to allows politics to fester. Howard Yu, Forbes, "Here’s What Boeing 777’s Engine Problem Teaches Us," 1 Mar. 2021 At 3-for-45, the Wild has the worst clip in the NHL — an eyesore that continues to fester and cost the team points. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "'Shoot it, shoot it': Wild focuses on scoring more," 17 Feb. 2021 The feud continues to fester, although officials recently have indicated a resolution may be within reach. Isabel Debre, The Christian Science Monitor, "Al-Jazeera reporters' phones hacked using Israeli firm's spyware," 21 Dec. 2020 An exhaust fan venting to the attic can cause problems to fester for months or years, and attract not only mold and rot but termites and pests. Paul F.p. Pogue, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Angie’s List: How to prevent bathroom mold," 25 Feb. 2021 Their reticence to take action is yet another example of how Republican leaders have allowed those forces to fester and strengthen. Catie Edmondson, BostonGlobe.com, "GOP quiet as pressure mounts to address lawmaker’s conspiracy claims," 29 Jan. 2021

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fester

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French festre, from Latin fistula pipe, fistulous ulcer

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Time Traveler for fester

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fester

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fester.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fester. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for fester

fester

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fester

: to become painful and infected
: to become worse as time passes

fester

verb
fes·​ter | \ ˈfe-stər How to pronounce fester (audio) \
festered; festering

Kids Definition of fester

: to become painfully red and sore and usually full of pus The wound festered.

fester

noun
fes·​ter | \ ˈfes-tər How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Medical Definition of fester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a suppurating sore : pustule
festered; festering\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Medical Definition of fester (Entry 2 of 2)

: to generate pus

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Comments on fester

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