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

Still, many of Fox’s regular viewers also follow Trump on Twitter, and there’s a risk when the president foments discontent. Washington Post, "Trump ramping up criticisms of Fox, usually a friendly venue," 8 July 2019 This is yet another flagrant disregard for the welfare of children on behalf of a cruel administration bent on fomenting fear and creating chaos. Alex Leary, WSJ, "U.S. Cities Prepare for Federal Immigration Raids," 22 June 2019 Fox News is a poisonous influence on our society, a propaganda organ that irresponsibly foments racial hate for the sake of a media baron’s bottom line. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 In 1974 Hersh reported in The New York Times that Korry had facilitated the CIA’s efforts to foment internal opposition to Allende, who committed suicide during a coup that overthrew him in 1973. Scott Sherman, The New York Review of Books, "A Muckraker’s Progress," 17 June 2019 But the desire for more land, more protection, and more concrete commitments to conservation kept fomenting in communities across the country. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Congress voted to protect millions of acres of public lands: Why it’s a huge win for conservationists," 26 Feb. 2019 Racial pride can foment racial prejudice, as in the case of white supremacists. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Race and ethnicity: How are they different?," 12 June 2019 Facebook has been blamed for fomenting deadly violence against the Rohingya people and other Muslims in Myanmar. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "About The Tragedy Of The Digital Commons: RaceAhead," 12 June 2019 The treaty was signed when the U.S. and Iran were still allies following the 1953 revolution — fomented by Britain and the U.S. — that ultimately cemented the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Iran asks UN’s highest court to suspend US sanctions," 27 Aug. 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

12 Jul 2019

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

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

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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