\ ˈyēst How to pronounce yeast (audio) , especially Southern and Midland US ˈēst \

Definition of yeast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a yellowish surface froth or sediment that occurs especially in saccharine liquids (such as fruit juices) in which it promotes alcoholic fermentation, consists largely of cells of a fungus (such as the saccharomyces, Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and is used especially in the making of alcoholic liquors and as a leaven in baking
b : a commercial product containing yeast fungi in a moist or dry medium
c(1) : a unicellular fungus that is present and functionally active in yeast, usually has little or no mycelium, and reproduces by budding
(2) : any of various similar fungi
2 archaic : the foam or spume of waves
3 : something that causes ferment or activity were all seething with the yeast of revolt— J. F. Dobie


yeasted; yeasting; yeasts

Definition of yeast (Entry 2 of 2)

Other Words from yeast


yeast-like or less commonly yeastlike \ ˈyēst-​ˌlīk How to pronounce yeast (audio) , especially Southern and Midland US  ˈēst-​ \ adjective

Examples of yeast in a Sentence

Noun taxation without representation proved to be the yeast of rebellion
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The yeast makes a wine which, in turn, undergoes distillation. Betsy Andrews, WSJ, 18 Dec. 2021 The special yeast used in this beer produces a measure of lactic acid yielding a tart and refreshing finish, according to Brewmaster Jerry Gnagy. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, 8 Dec. 2021 Massari taught Shvartzapel how to tame the dough that begins with a natural starter made simply from water, flour and the wild yeast in the air. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, 2 Dec. 2021 Try the sparkling flight for a selection from multiple vintage years, all disgorged (separated from the yeast) specially for guests: an unusual opportunity to taste the wines in their first moments. Valerie Stivers + Hank Zona, Travel + Leisure, 1 Oct. 2021 And, of course, sugar provides food for the yeast to ferment into alcohol. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 Around the clock, the yeast were shaken at 225 revolutions per minute. Quanta Magazine, 22 Sep. 2021 That secret blend is used to convert the starch into sugar, which is then fermented into alcohol by the yeast — all in one tank. Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2021 With that in mind, some of the best dandruff shampoos will contain antifungal ingredients, like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, and zinc pyrithione, which will rein in the yeast that's setting your dandruff in motion. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 23 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Directions: In a large bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and 2 ½ cups of warm water (warm bath water temp). Karla Alindahao, Forbes, 16 June 2021 Oddly, cancer cells also metabolize sugars through fermentation, in a manner analogous to yeast cells. Sam Kean, WSJ, 15 June 2021 Another issue is that the drug is not suitable for one group of people particularly prone to yeast infections: pregnant people. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 3 June 2021 But the operation still feels kind of smalltown, punctuated by the fact that a Yuengling family member followed the recipes and yeast down to Texas to begin a historic expansion for the company. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 11 May 2021 Supply shortages have made flour, beans, pasta, and yeast hot commodities. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2021 Witness the disappearing flour and yeast off grocery store shelves, the uptick in sourdough. Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2020 For recipes with drier doughs and longer mix times like pasta, tortilla or yeasted doughs, add the discard directly to the other ingredients during mixing. Erin Jeanne Mcdowell, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2020 Focaccia is a flat, yeasted Italian bread similar in taste and texture to pizza dough. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yeast.' 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 yeast


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


1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for yeast


Middle English yest, from Old English gist; akin to Old High German jesen, gesen to ferment, Greek zein to boil

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The first known use of yeast was before the 12th century

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yeast cake

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Yeast.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for yeast



English Language Learners Definition of yeast

: a type of fungus that is used in making alcoholic drinks (such as beer and wine) and in baking to help make dough rise


\ ˈyēst How to pronounce yeast (audio) \

Kids Definition of yeast

1 : a single-celled fungus that ferments sugar to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide
2 : a commercial product containing living yeast cells that is used in baking to make dough rise and in the making of alcoholic beverages (as wine)


\ ˈyēst How to pronounce yeast (audio) \

Medical Definition of yeast

1 : a unicellular chiefly ascomycetous fungus (as of the family Saccharomycetaceae) that has usually little or no mycelium, that typically reproduces asexually by budding, and that includes forms (as Saccharomyces cerevisiae) which cause alcoholic fermentation and are used especially in the making of alcoholic beverages and leavened bread
2 : a yellowish surface froth or sediment that occurs especially in sugary fermenting liquids (as fruit juices) and consists chiefly of yeast cells and carbon dioxide
3 : a commercial product containing yeast cells in a moist or dry medium

Other Words from yeast

yeastlike \ -​ˌlīk How to pronounce yeast (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on yeast

Nglish: Translation of yeast for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yeast for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about yeast


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