foment

verb
fo·​ment | \ˈfō-ˌment, fō-ˈment \
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

In most cases, socialism’s monopoly on economic control also fomented corruption by government officials, as was especially apparent in Latin American and African socialist regimes. James Freeman, WSJ, "Capitalism: Still Working," 15 Nov. 2018 The Trump administration has condemned Venezuela’s government for fomenting an escalating humanitarian and economic crisis, and has sanctioned top Venezuelan officials. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Decoding Bolsonaro’s “make Brazil great” foreign policy," 31 Oct. 2018 In the welter of German revolution the Jews fomented a German Republic essentially Marxist. Lily Rothman, Time, "'It's Not That the Story Was Buried.' What Americans in the 1930s Really Knew About What Was Happening in Germany," 10 July 2018 Thirty years later, Gorkys Hernandez is fomenting a revolution in San Francisco. Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants’ Hernandez turning AT&T into Gorkys’ park," 7 June 2018 Mexican dudes who came to the Central Valley with the purpose of fomenting revolution, doing work in the fields — the literal fields. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, "How Boots Riley Infiltrated Hollywood," 22 May 2018 Nor will the sanctions cause the Russian public to turn against their strongman leader, or foment a debate inside the country about the direction of its foreign policy, according to Boulègue. NBC News, "Sanctions for Russian oligarchs unlikely to seriously impact Putin, experts say," 7 Apr. 2018 Surely, this is a time where many ladies wish to foment a rebellion. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down," 6 Oct. 2018 To the Indonesian government, the 39-year-old factory worker and globe-trotting Polish traveler is a danger to the state, a man who plotted with shadowy gunmen to foment revolt in isolated eastern jungles. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "Polish globe-trotter blunders into Indonesia-Papua conflict," 24 Sep. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near foment

Folsom

Folsomoid

Fomalhaut

foment

fomentation

Fomes

fomite

Statistics for foment

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foment

The first known use of foment was circa 1613

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More Definitions for foment

foment

verb

English Language Learners Definition of foment

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

foment

noun
fo·​ment | \ˈfō-ˌment \

Medical Definition of foment 

(Entry 1 of 2)

fo·​ment | \fō-ˈment \

Medical Definition of foment (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on foment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foment

Spanish Central: Translation of foment

Nglish: Translation of foment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foment for Arabic Speakers

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