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 Wenstrup said both parties helped foment some skepticism, though increasingly vocal moves by other Republicans amount to acknowledgement that GOP vaccine hesitancy is a growing public health problem — and potentially a political one. BostonGlobe.com, 1 May 2021 Wenstrup said both parties helped foment some skepticism, though increasingly vocal moves by other Republicans amount to acknowledgement that GOP vaccine hesitancy is a growing public health problem — and potentially a political one. Will Weissert, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2021 They were arrested for the robbery and murders in Braintree—which police believed were carried out to fund the anarchist groups ongoing efforts to foment revolution— in May 1920. Annika Neklason, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 May 2021 Most are standing firm, despite public attacks and insults designed to foment hatred and government harassment in the form of multiple financial investigations. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 9 May 2021 Facebook is trying to head off criticism that has dogged it in the past: That its platform is sometimes used as a place to foment and plan violent or racist, as well as a frequent source of misinformation. Abram Brown, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 And good people and good Americans definitely do not foment sedition or violence against our Capitol. Kim Chandler, Star Tribune, 22 Mar. 2021 Soon, however, the idea of having a new generation of hosts take over Invisibilia began to foment and gain traction, partly aided by the chaos of the pandemic, which contributed to a greater willingness to take leaps of faith. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 11 May 2021 Wenstrup said both parties helped foment some skepticism, though increasingly vocal moves by other Republicans amount to acknowledgement that GOP vaccine hesitancy is a growing public health problem — and potentially a political one. BostonGlobe.com, 1 May 2021

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

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foment. Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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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)

foment

transitive verb
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)

More from Merriam-Webster on foment

Nglish: Translation of foment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foment for Arabic Speakers

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