foster

1 of 2

adjective

fos·​ter ˈfȯ-stər How to pronounce foster (audio)
ˈfä-
1
: having, relating to, or being the relationship between a foster parent and the child who the foster parent cares for
Although both girls lived with Ms. Ayala, Millison was the only one who was officially placed in her care as a foster child. Ian Fisher
Twenty-three foster children now have a place to call home and family of their own following the Adoption Day at the Williamson County Courthouse in Marion on Friday. Holly Kee
a foster mother/father
her new foster brother/sister
living with a foster family
children in foster care
foster parenting
the foster system
2
: being, relating to, or involved in a situation in which temporary care is given to an animal (such as one that is injured or awaiting adoption) in a household or similar setting
foster pets
a foster dog/cat/puppy/kitten
found foster placements for the animals
For the past year, Melbourne social impact strategy consultant Lee Crockford has been a foster dad to Romeo, an adorable Labrador puppy and future seeing eye dog. Shannon Molloy

see also foster home

foster

2 of 2

verb

fostered; fostering ˈfȯ-st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce foster (audio)
ˈfä-
; fosters

transitive verb

1
a
: to act as a foster parent to (a child)
The couple said they get … updates and pictures from all the children they've fostered. Patrick Edrich
b
: to provide temporary care to (an animal that is injured, homeless, etc.) in a household or similar setting
… it's just her luck she'd find a partner who not only adores dogs but fosters them for a Sacramento animal shelter. Gina Kim
2
: to promote the growth or development of : encourage
policies that foster cooperation
a lack of communication that fostered distrust
Grilling meat fosters the formation of potentially cancer-causing heterocyclic amines … J. Raloff
The dead grass rotted in the warm water, releasing nutrients that fostered algae. Carl Hiaasen
fosterer noun
plural fosterers

Example Sentences

Verb Such conditions foster the spread of the disease. Would you consider fostering a child?
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Mezhevyi's 9-year-old daughter Sviatoslava told ABC News that at the boarding house they were being spoiled with gifts and being pressured to choose whether to go to an orphanage or with a foster family. Michela Moscufo, ABC News, 23 Nov. 2022 Arabella had two sisters, ages 6 and 7, the release continues, who are currently living with a foster family. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 11 Nov. 2022 The dog, who was supposed to live only one month more in June, is still happily going on adventures with her foster family today. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2022 Arabella had two sisters, ages six and seven, who have since been placed with a foster family, the sheriff's department said. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 10 Nov. 2022 Aarabella’s sisters now are living a foster family, according to authorities. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Nov. 2022 Police in the district of Ople, where Attendorn is located, placed Maria with a foster care family after the rescue, according to a Nov. 6 statement. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 9 Nov. 2022 He was invited to stay at a home with a foster family that also had a distemper survivor. The Republic, The Arizona Republic, 8 Nov. 2022 Lovely puts a great deal of effort into her schoolwork with the support of her foster family. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2022
Verb
Sometimes the best way to foster belonging is to stop doing certain things. Time, 22 Nov. 2022 One of their dreams is to use the new space, which is open by appointment only, to foster community by offering floral-design classes or wreath-making workshops for the holidays. Anna Grace Lee, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2022 California and New York passed job rules this year meant to foster pay equity, joining Colorado in requiring more disclosure about salaries from employers. Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Your body is working really dang hard to foster this new pregnancy. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, 17 Nov. 2022 Miller's past does not exactly foster a welcoming environment. Richard Morin, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2022 This arrangement doesn’t foster pragmatic foreign-policy decisions. Reuel Marc Gerecht And Ray Takeyh, WSJ, 26 July 2022 Yet requiring students to discuss deeply personal, polarizing topics upon their arrival does not foster a sense of connection or belonging. Abigail Anthony, National Review, 15 July 2022 Unfortunately, stereotypes don’t necessarily foster that efficiency. April Rudin, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foster.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Middle English, from Old English fōstor-, from fōstor food, feeding; akin to Old English fōda food

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of foster was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near foster

Cite this Entry

“Foster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/foster. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

foster 1 of 2

adjective

fos·​ter ˈfȯs-tər How to pronounce foster (audio)
ˈfäs-
: giving, receiving, or sharing parental care even though not related by blood or legal ties
foster parent
foster child

foster

2 of 2

verb

fostered; fostering -t(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce foster (audio)
1
: to give parental care to
2
: to help the growth or development of
fosterer noun

Legal Definition

foster 1 of 2

adjective

fos·​ter
: affording, receiving, or sharing nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal relationships
a foster child
a foster parent

foster

2 of 2

transitive verb

fostered; fostering
: to give parental care to

Biographical Definition

Foster 1 of 2

biographical name (1)

Fos·​ter ˈfȯ-stər How to pronounce Foster (audio)
ˈfä-
Stephen Collins 1826–1864 American songwriter

Foster

2 of 2

biographical name (2)

William Z(ebulon) 1881–1961 American Communist

More from Merriam-Webster on foster

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