fester

verb
fes·ter | \ˈfe-stər \
festered; festering\ˈfe-st(ə-)riŋ \

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

break down, corrupt, decay, decompose, disintegrate, foul, mold, molder, putrefy, rot, spoil

Synonyms: Noun

boil, papule, pimple, pock, pustule, whelk, zit [slang]

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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

This wound has been festering in them for six months. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "'Hand To God': Hanging Out With An Unhinged, Satanical Hand Puppet At Theaterworks," 12 July 2018 An aging driver population that continues to dwindle owing to retirement—combined with a lack of younger workers coming into the industry—is a problem that has been festering for 15 years. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "America's Trucker Shortage Is Hitting Home," 27 June 2018 Falsely portraying this young girl and child star as a raging homicidal bigot is heinous, and Brown deleting her Twitter to avoid this maelstrom is a logical response to the internet’s festering orgy of toilet humor. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How the “homophobic Millie Bobby Brown” meme made the actress quit Twitter.," 14 June 2018 The revelations published by The Times heightened long-festering concerns about university leaders' ethics and management style. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: USC President Nikias steps down amid uproar," 26 May 2018 The revelations published by The Times heightened long-festering concerns about university leaders’ ethics and management style and sparked calls for Nikias to resign. Anchorage Daily News, "USC president to step down amid growing outrage over scandals," 26 May 2018 But the tensions between Comey and Trump had been festering for much longer -- even if the public didn't yet know the extent of it. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "Tick-tock: How Comey's firing played out in real time," 9 May 2018 Other festering issues include the continuing wars in Syria and Afghanistan, deteriorating relations with Turkey and Russia and a spat between U.S. allies in the Middle East that pits a group led by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg.com, "For Pompeo, Senate Confirmation Was the Easy Part," 27 Apr. 2018 Don't swim in still or overcrowded areas where goose poop has been able to fester and grow. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Blast of heat reminds Alaskans how to keep their cool while playing hard," 9 July 2018

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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Statistics for fester

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fester

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

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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 \
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 \

Medical Definition of fester 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a suppurating sore : pustule

festered; festering\-t(ə-)riŋ \

Medical Definition of fester (Entry 2 of 2)

: to generate pus

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