foment

verb
fo·​ment | \ ˈfō-ˌment How to pronounce foment (audio) , fō-ˈment How to pronounce foment (audio) \
fomented; fomenting; foments

Definition of foment

transitive verb

: to promote the growth or development of : rouse, incite foment a rebellion was accused of fomenting a riot

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Other Words from foment

fomenter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for foment

incite, instigate, abet, foment mean to spur to action. incite stresses a stirring up and urging on, and may or may not imply initiating. inciting a riot instigate definitely implies responsibility for initiating another's action and often connotes underhandedness or evil intention. instigated a conspiracy abet implies both assisting and encouraging. aiding and abetting the enemy foment implies persistence in goading. fomenting rebellion

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."

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”.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite four years of mutual antipathy, the C.I.A. and Trump are spiritual siblings, defined in large part by the extent of their impunity and their ability to foment fear and paranoia. Sam Biddle, The New Yorker, "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Mines the Paranoia of the Nineteen-Eighties and Today," 25 Nov. 2020 The lacks and gaps in K-12 education will foment hate against Arab Americans down the road, for example, with those who continue on to colleges and universities. Doris Bittar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: Arab Americans must be included in California’s new ethnic studies curriculum," 18 Nov. 2020 His refusal to concede defeat now will foment a grassroots outrage that could strangle Biden's presidency. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Can Biden heal America?," 8 Nov. 2020 Iran denied the reports, saying the government is not harboring any Al Qaeda leaders and blaming the U.S. and Israel for trying to foment anti-Iranian sentiment. Fox News, "Abu Mohammed al-Masri, Al Qaeda's No. 2, killed in US-Israel joint operation in Iran," 15 Nov. 2020 Iran denied the reports, saying the government is not harboring any al-Qaida leaders and blaming the U.S. and Israel for trying to foment anti-Iranian sentiment. Matthew Lee And James Laporta, Anchorage Daily News, "US, Israel worked together to track and kill al-Qaida No. 2," 15 Nov. 2020 The Fox News Channel, this week, had the opportunity to reckon with reality; instead, the network chose to mislead its viewers about the state of the election, and to foment mistrust in the workings of the American electoral system more broadly. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Fox News Hits a Dangerous New Low," 6 Nov. 2020 But Yaroshuk noted that even though the nationwide strike hasn't materialized, the economic stagnation will likely foment unrest in the coming months. Bloomberg.com, "Nearly 3 Months After Vote, Belarus Protests Still Go Strong," 31 Oct. 2020 The analysis also concluded that Iran was working to foment division and undermine Trump in advance of the 2020 election. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Russian hackers target U.S. computer systems; feds say elections data not compromised," 23 Oct. 2020

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

circa 1613, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for foment

Time Traveler

The first known use of foment was circa 1613

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foment. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for foment

foment

verb
How to pronounce foment (audio) How to pronounce foment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of foment

formal : to cause or try to cause the growth or development of (something bad or harmful)

foment

noun
fo·​ment | \ ˈfō-ˌment How to pronounce foment (audio) \

Medical Definition of foment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

fo·​ment | \ fō-ˈment How to pronounce foment (audio) \

Medical Definition of foment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to treat with moist heat (as for easing pain)

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