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 The media have been fomenting division since Madison’s time, and political scientists have traced a portion of today’s outrage culture to the rise of cable television and talk radio in the 1980s and ’90s. Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, "Why It Feels Like Everything Is Going Haywire," 12 Nov. 2019 Zuckerberg’s highly promoted speech introduced no new Facebook features or initiatives, but was a defiant reply to critics of Facebook’s destructive effects on global society—manipulating voters, fomenting division and even aiding genocide. Wired, "Zuckerberg Doubles Down on Free Speech—the Facebook Way," 17 Oct. 2019 In the early 1970s, as a favor to the shah of Iran, the administration of President Richard M. Nixon helped foment a Kurdish uprising in Iraq. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump sells out the Kurds in his own unique way," 8 Oct. 2019 In the early 1970s, as a favor to the shah of Iran, the administration of President Richard M. Nixon helped foment a Kurdish uprising in Iraq. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump sells out the Kurds in his own unique way," 8 Oct. 2019 Unlike the Taliban, the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State often hit targets like Shiite mosques, gyms and schools to foment sectarian divisions. New York Times, "One Minute It Was an Afghan Wedding. The Next, a Funeral for 63.," 18 Aug. 2019 Whatever helped foment murder in the gunman's mind, journalists have endured the potential for violence for a long time. NBC News, "Death threats won't stop local journalists from reporting," 30 June 2018 Its success will depend on living up the hype that Toyota itself has helped foment. Kevin Buckland, Bloomberg.com, "Fast, Furious, and Finally Here: The Road to the Reborn Supra," 7 Mar. 2018 Though Morales herself was discreet as to who had fomented the reversal, my inquiries indicated that this was the work of Louise Lucas, a local black state senator who has a reputation for getting her own way in the cut and thrust of city politics. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for foment

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for foment

The first known use of foment was circa 1613

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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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