foment was our Word of the Day on 12/16/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of foment in a sentence
He was accused of fomenting violence.
John Adams's wife, Abigail, told him that if women were not remembered by the new American government, they would “foment a Rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice or Representation”.
Did You Know?
If you had sore muscles in the 1600s, your doctor might have advised you to foment the injury, perhaps with heated lotions or warm wax. Does this sound like an odd prescription? Not if you know that "foment" traces to the Latin verb fovēre, which means "to heat." The earliest documented English uses of "foment" appear in medical texts offering advice on how to soothe various aches and pains by the application of moist heat. But the idea of applying heat can also be a metaphor for stimulating or rousing to action. Within 50 years of its English debut, "foment" was also being used in political contexts to mean "to stir up," "to call to action," or, in a sense at least figuratively opposite to its original one, "to irritate."
Origin and Etymology of foment
Middle English, to apply a warm substance to, from Late Latin fomentare, from Latin fomentum compress, from fovēre to heat, soothe; akin to Lithuanian degti to burn, Sanskrit dahati it burns
First Known Use: circa 1613
Synonym Discussion of foment
FOMENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of foment for English Language Learners
: to cause or try to cause the growth or development of (something bad or harmful)
Medical Definition of foment
: to treat with moist heat (as for easing pain)
Seen and Heard
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