Definition of fester
- The wound became inflamed and festered.
- dissent festered unchecked
- His resentment festered for years.
- allowed slums to fester
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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.
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.
fall apart, go to seed (or run to seed);
pus oozed out of the fester
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.
: to become painful and infected
: to become worse as time passes
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