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

Keep scrolling for more

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 2017, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic, air and maritime links with Qatar, accusing their neighbor of fomenting unrest in the region. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "Qatar’s National Airline Buys Stake in Chinese Carrier," 2 Jan. 2019 Ukraine’s efforts to obtain its own church have gained urgency since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and fomented a separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s east that has cost over 10,000 lives. James Marson, WSJ, "New Ukrainian Church Officially Recognized, Gains Independence From Russia," 6 Jan. 2019 The State Department's annual survey of global terrorism released on Wednesday said Iran and its proxies are responsible for fomenting violence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "US tags Iran anew as top terror sponsor, global attacks fall," 19 Sep. 2018 Third was the deadly 2017 white-nationalist rally at Charlottesville, fomented by social media, which shifted the how the companies saw hate speech virtually overnight. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Immigration Fight Shows Silicon Valley Must Stop Feigning Neutrality," 8 July 2018 But Khalilzad has had a prickly relationship with Pakistan and has often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban. Kathy Gannon, The Seattle Times, "US envoy on Afghan peace takes his mission to Pakistan," 9 Oct. 2018 In this turbulent neighborhood, exclusion and exile have long fomented conflict, placing Burundi at risk of more violence in the months to come. Yolande Bouka, Washington Post, "Burundi votes tomorrow on controversial constitutional amendments. A lot is at stake.," 16 May 2018 One reason this is happening is that politicians and external factions foment dramatic projects like Brexit without possessing any idea how to execute them. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Gridlock Is the New Normal," 16 Jan. 2019 Chekhov, one of the founding fathers of modern realism, fomented a revolution in the theater against melodrama, with its phony climaxes, stereotypical psychology and neat division between good and evil. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "A spectacular new 'Uncle Vanya' at San Diego's Old Globe," 21 Feb. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foment

Listen to Our Podcast about foment

Dictionary Entries near foment

Folsom

Folsomoid

Fomalhaut

foment

fomentation

Fomes

fomite

Statistics for foment

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foment

The first known use of foment was circa 1613

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on foment

What made you want to look up foment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to mark by some ceremony or observation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!