Definition of ferment in English:

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Pronunciation: /fəˈmɛnt/
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, bubble, seethe, boil;
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.
subject to fermentation, cause to ferment, cause to effervesce
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 on, bring about, give rise to, lead to, result in, generate, engender, spawn, instigate, prompt, provoke, incite, excite, arouse, stir up, whip up, foment, kindle, trigger off, spark off, touch off
literary beget, enkindle
rare effectuate


Pronunciation: /ˈfəːmɛnt/
1 [mass noun] Agitation and excitement among a group of people, typically concerning major change and leading to trouble or violence: a period of political and 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, furore, frenzy, tumult, storm, flurry, bustle, hubbub, brouhaha, stir, fuss, stew, ruckus, clamour;
turmoil, upheaval, unrest, disquiet, uproar, agitation, turbulence, hurly-burly, excitement, disruption, confusion, disorder, chaos, mayhem
informal hoo-ha, to-do, rumpus
British informal kerfuffle, carry-on, aggro, argy-bargy, hoopla
archaic moil, coil
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: /fəˈmɛntəb(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

Line breaks: fer|ment

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