Synonym Chooser

How does the verb foment contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of foment are abet, incite, and instigate. While all these words mean "to spur to action," foment implies persistence in goading.

fomenting rebellion

When would abet be a good substitute for foment?

The words abet and foment are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, abet implies both assisting and encouraging.

aiding and abetting the enemy

Where would incite be a reasonable alternative to foment?

The words incite and foment can be used in similar contexts, but incite stresses a stirring up and urging on, and may or may not imply initiating.

inciting a riot

When could instigate be used to replace foment?

The meanings of instigate and foment largely overlap; however, instigate definitely implies responsibility for initiating another's action and often connotes underhandedness or evil intention.

instigated a conspiracy


Thesaurus Entries Near foment

Cite this Entry

“Foment.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on foment

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?