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 Now activists are sounding the alarm that those cramped conditions could foment an explosion of the coronavirus. Alexei Koseff, SFChronicle.com, "Will coronavirus pandemic free California prisoners? Gavin Newsom says no," 30 Mar. 2020 Counterfeit facts can polarize, alienate, disaffect, rouse misdirected rage, and foment social division. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "How the Coronavirus Shattered Trump’s Serene Confidence," 22 Mar. 2020 Some American officials now admit that the killing of General Suleimani has not — as some had hoped — led Iran and its proxies to think twice about fomenting violence inside Iraq and elsewhere. Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, "As Iran Reels, Trump Aides Clash Over Escalating Military Showdown," 21 Mar. 2020 The Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Iran were established ostensibly to combat foreign threats and push back against efforts to overthrow the government, dealing with allegations of espionage, smuggling, blasphemy, and fomenting revolution. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Judge finds Iran responsible for Robert Levinson’s kidnapping in $1.5B lawsuit," 9 Mar. 2020 The back and forth perfectly suits Russia's original disinformation blueprint, fomenting pandemonium in US politics that turns American against American. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Putin must be loving Washington's meltdown over Russian election interference," 25 Feb. 2020 Russia behaves at times like an outlaw regime, attempting to kill dissidents abroad and fomenting unrest in European democracies. NBC News, "Russian agents planned hit from assassins' lairs in French Alps, say intel officials," 5 Dec. 2019 Across swaths of western New York, anti-solar sentiment has fomented in heated town hall meetings and has surfaced on lawn signs and in Change.org petitions. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "He Set Up a Big Solar Farm. His Neighbors Hated It.," 18 Mar. 2020 In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and fomented war in eastern Ukraine, leading to nearly fifty per cent inflation the following year and to more than ten thousand civilian casualties and the internal displacement of some one and a half million people. Janet Elise Johnson, The New Yorker, "Prom Pictures of Ukrainian Teens on the Verge of an Uncertain Adulthood," 5 Jan. 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

4 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foment. Accessed 9 Apr. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on foment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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