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

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 or warm" or "to soothe." 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. In time, the idea of applying heat became a metaphor for stimulating or rousing to action. Foment then started being used in political contexts to mean "to stir up" or "to call to action."

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 This is exactly the type of organic collaboration Bustamante hopes to foment with Apollo. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2022 For many weeks, it was taken as an article of faith that no U.S. official would say anything to hint that Washington meant to foment a regime change in Moscow. The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2022 The suspects -- some survivalists, others who hoped to foment a new civil war -- have framed the case as a critical examination of something entirely different: the country's commitment to free speech. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 14 Mar. 2022 Otto von Bismarck, the architect of unification, understood that to hold the ceremony in a German city would foment jealousy among the fractious states that had reluctantly agreed upon unity. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 Both sought to undercut confidence in vaccines and mask mandates to foment distrust in the federal government and health agencies. Sheera Frenkel,, 23 Mar. 2022 Both sought to undercut confidence in vaccines and mask mandates to foment distrust in the federal government and health agencies. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 Russia had annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by sending in armed forces to take over key facilities and foment a separatist rebellion that rumbled on for eight years. Emiko Jozuka And Blake Essig, CNN, 13 Mar. 2022 Russian information doesn’t need to foment that simple truth; white supremacy perpetuates it on its own accord. Shamira Ibrahim,, 6 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of foment was circa 1613

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Last Updated

7 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Foment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for foment


fo·​ment | \ ˈfō-ˌment How to pronounce foment (audio) \

Medical Definition of foment

 (Entry 1 of 2)


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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