fester

verb
fes·​ter | \ ˈfe-stər How to pronounce fester (audio) \
festered; festering\ ˈfe-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Definition of fester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to generate pus The wound became inflamed and festered.
2 : putrefy, rot festering carrion
3a : to cause increasing poisoning, irritation, or bitterness : rankle dissent festered unchecked His resentment festered for years.
b : to undergo or exist in a state of progressive deterioration allowed slums to fester

transitive verb

: to make inflamed or corrupt

fester

noun

Definition of fester (Entry 2 of 2)

: a suppurating sore : pustule

Synonyms for fester

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Fester comes from Latin fistula, meaning "pipe" or "fistulous ulcer." Fistula, in English, refers to an abnormal passage leading from an abscess or hollow organ and permitting passage of fluids or secretions. The word's use as a verb meaning "to generate pus" influenced its use as a word implying a worsening state.

Examples of fester in a Sentence

Verb His wounds festered for days before he got medical attention. His feelings of resentment have festered for years. We should deal with these problems now instead of allowing them to fester. Noun pus oozed out of the fester
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Most suspect work is left to fester in the literature. David Robert Grimes, The Atlantic, 29 July 2022 Ethical complaints fester in environments where transparency and respect are lacking. Joshua Bowling, The Arizona Republic, 5 July 2022 Scant rainfall, gusty winds and anomalously warm temperatures during the months of April and May — following a winter with little snow — proved pernicious, helping the fires to fester and grow uncontrollably. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 The Kovalevskiy family left Mariupol after eating cold scraps of food in an unlit basement and watching sores fester on their unwashed skin. Anchorage Daily News, 20 July 2022 Homicides are often associated with big cities like Chicago, where police say the majority of killings have some tie to gang rivalries, which in recent years often fester on social media before spilling into the streets. Michael Tarm And Brynn Anderson, Chron, 6 July 2022 Homicides are often associated with big cities like Chicago, where police say the majority of killings have some tie to gang rivalries, which in recent years often fester on social media before spilling into the streets. Michael Tarm And Brynn Anderson, Chicago Tribune, 6 July 2022 Homicides are often associated with big cities like Chicago, where police say the majority of killings have some tie to gang rivalries, which in recent years often fester on social media before spilling into the streets. Michael Tarm And Brynn Anderson, Anchorage Daily News, 6 July 2022 Heavy rain at the tip of the Mississippi Delta has been lurking in the northern Gulf for the past couple days, and will linger and fester before gradually shifting west. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of fester

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fester

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French festre, from Latin fistula pipe, fistulous ulcer

Learn More About fester

Time Traveler for fester

Time Traveler

The first known use of fester was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About fester

Dictionary Entries Near fester

festal letter

fester

festering

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for fester

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fester.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fester. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for fester

fester

verb
fes·​ter | \ ˈfe-stər How to pronounce fester (audio) \
festered; festering

Kids Definition of fester

: to become painfully red and sore and usually full of pus The wound festered.

fester

noun
fes·​ter | \ ˈfes-tər How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Medical Definition of fester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a suppurating sore : pustule

fester

intransitive verb
festered; festering\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce fester (audio) \

Medical Definition of fester (Entry 2 of 2)

: to generate pus

More from Merriam-Webster on fester

Nglish: Translation of fester for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fester for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

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

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!