English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

foment (fəˈmɛnt Pronunciation for foment


verb (transitive)

  1. to encourage or instigate (trouble, discord, etc); stir up
  2. (medicine) to apply heat and moisture to (a part of the body) to relieve pain and inflammation
Both foment and ferment can be used to talk about stirring up trouble: he was accused of fomenting/fermenting unrest. Only ferment can be used intransitively or as a noun: his anger continued to ferment (not foment); rural areas were unaffected by the ferment in the cities

Derived Forms

fomentation (ˌfəʊmɛnˈteɪʃən Pronunciation for fomentation  noun
foˈmenter noun

Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin fōmentāre, from Latin fōmentum a poultice, ultimately from fovēre to foster


View thesaurus entry
= stir up, raise, encourage, promote, excite, spur, foster, stimulate, provoke, brew, arouse, rouse, agitate, quicken, incite, instigate, whip up, goad, abet, sow the seeds of, fan the flames

Example Sentences Including 'foment'

America's Grand Strategy n Eliminate Taliban's politico-military ability to foment terror.
India Today (2001)
And so Saddam Hussein was left with the standing and the means to terrorize his people and foment more trouble.
Thatcher, Margaret The Downing Street Years
By the time recreation was under way, the task would be to foment rumour and excitement, but still with nothing concrete being said.
Kippax, Frank The Scar
Cardinal Connell said they wished to declare that whoever used religion to foment violence contradicted its deepest and truest inspiration.
Irish Times (2002)
He paraded at the annual Drumcree stand-off in a UFF T-shirt and helped foment a deadly turf war with the rival Ulster Volunteer Force.
Times, Sunday Times (2002)
Mr. Taylor's central role in West Africa's illicit diamond trade has been well-documented, as have his efforts to foment regional conflicts.
Globe and Mail (2003)
Nor has Iran's continuing attempt to undermine the new regime in Afghanistan, or foment a client terrorist state in Lebanon.
Times, Sunday Times (2002)
`Contrary to what those chaps believe," he said, `we are going in to prevent trouble, or contain it, not foment it.
Kippax, Frank The Scar


Log in to comment on this word.