Definition of ferment in English:

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Pronunciation: /fərˈment/
1 [no object] (Of a substance) undergo fermentation: the drink had fermented, turning some of the juice into alcohol
More example sentences
  • Without lactase, milk and other lactose-rich foods ferment in the intestine, releasing excessive gas.
  • Next, the juice is placed in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels where the wine will ferment following the addition of yeast.
  • When milk ferments, naturally or aided by chemicals in the dairy, the milk changes into a solid fraction and a watery fraction (whey).
undergo fermentation, brew;
effervesce, fizz, foam, froth
1.1 [with object] Cause the fermentation of (a substance).
Example sentences
  • People in ancient China, India and the Mediterranean region employed biochemistry for making bread with yeast, fermenting beer and wine, and treating diseases with plant and animal extracts.
  • The starch stored in natural plant sugars is harvested and then the sugar is fermented into lactic acid.
  • In this case, the beer is fully fermented, then filtered to remove the yeast, then carbonated and stored in a tightly sealed keg, ready for immediate drinking.
2 [with object] Incite or stir up (trouble or disorder): the politicians and warlords who are fermenting this chaos
More example sentences
  • I would not want anything to be said in relation to that that would ferment any problems.
  • The problem is, that we can't ferment the democratic revolution ourselves, because most of the democratizers seem to be saying to us, keep your distance.
  • ‘The principal and his henchmen blamed us for fermenting trouble and putting dangerous ideas in the heads of young people,’ he says.
cause, bring about, give rise to, generate, engender, spawn, instigate, provoke, incite, excite, stir up, whip up, foment
literary beget, enkindle
2.1 [no object] (Of a negative feeling or memory) fester and develop into something worse: it had been fermenting in my subconscious for a while
More example sentences
  • She recognises that if she doesn't get out now, those emotions could ferment into something darker.
  • Separation is painful, and anger and resentment often ferment during the legal proceedings.
  • I dare say that, during some of the time I've spent staring into space this week, these ideas have in fact been developing and fermenting in my mind like hops in a big yeasty vat.


Pronunciation: /ˈfərˌmənt/
1Agitation and excitement among a group of people, typically concerning major change and leading to trouble or violence: Germany at this time was in a state of religious ferment
More example sentences
  • That suggests greater ferment - and more excitement - in Singapore's arts scene.
  • Hollenstein's education also went on outside the studio classroom, for Munich was a major site of artistic ferment in the first decade of the twentieth century.
  • There is still the sense of scientific, political and religious ferment, although Pears is a much more literary writer.
fever, furor, frenzy, tumult, storm, rumpus;
turmoil, upheaval, unrest, disquiet, uproar, agitation, turbulence, disruption, confusion, disorder, chaos, mayhem
informal hoo-ha, to-do
2 archaic A fermenting agent or enzyme.
Example sentences
  • They have a slightly gamy flavour, due to the enzymes or ferments from the gut.
  • In my opinion, the albuminous materials were never the ferments, but the nutrients of the ferment.
  • The recent literature on ferments seemed to indicate that enzymes were a more likely candidate.



Pronunciation: /fərˈmen(t)əb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • In France, for example, winemakers for centuries have used a process known as chaptalization, which is the addition of fermentable materials - including cane sugar!
  • Corn is the most readily apparent upon tasting - it is used by brewers to add fermentable sugar cheaply, since corn is significantly less expensive and requires less processing than barley.
  • But vodka can be made from anything that has fermentable sugars - and grapes are among the popular alternatives.


Late Middle English: from Old French ferment (noun), fermenter (verb), based on Latin fermentum 'yeast', from fervere 'to boil'.

  • This comes via Old French from Latin fermentum ‘yeast’, from fervere ‘to boil’.

Words that rhyme with ferment

absent, accent, anent, ascent, assent, augment, bent, cement, cent, circumvent, consent, content, dent, event, extent, foment, forewent, forwent, frequent, gent, Ghent, Gwent, lament, leant, lent, meant, misrepresent, misspent, outwent, pent, percent, pigment, rent, scent, segment, sent, spent, stent, Stoke-on-Trent, Tashkent, tent, torment, Trent, underspent, underwent, vent, went

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fer·ment

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