fes·​ter·​ing ˈfe-st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce festering (audio)
: contaminated by an infective agent (such as a bacterium) and producing pus
a festering wound
But if the patient can manage it, the whirlpool is a dandy way to handle festering bedsores.Paul G. Donohue
: persisting and growing increasingly bitter over time
festering resentment
… comedy that comes from a pit of festering hatred …Robert Brustein
: persistently producing bad or unhealthy effects
Four hundred yards to the west, between the schoolhouse and the mountain, lay a festering center of sin, a bootleg whiskey still operated by the celebrated anti-Prohibition guerilla Sam Reever.Russell Baker

Examples of festering in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Adding to the festering sense of uncertainty about the enterprise is the principal characters’ embrace of the supernatural. Popular Mechanics, 14 Apr. 2023 For the moment at least, embassies remain open in both capitals despite a festering but unrelated diplomatic spat that has seen the two sides expel dozens of diplomats since 2017. chicagotribune.com, 3 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'festering.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of festering was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near festering

Cite this Entry

“Festering.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/festering. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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