Definition of fermentation in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /fəːmɛnˈteɪʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1The chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat: the fermentation of organic matter by micro-organisms in the gut
More example sentences
  • Some short-chain fatty acids are produced by bacterial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates.
  • As a result, partial chemical/enzymatic digestion and limited bacterial fermentation occur.
  • Gas is caused by the fermentation of carbohydrates broken down by bacteria, a perfectly normal part of digestion.
1.1The fermentation process involved in the making of beers, wines, and spirits, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol.
Example sentences
  • They can have the positive effect of precipitating malolactic fermentation in wines with an excess of malic acid.
  • There are a variety of ways to vinify sparkling wine, but all are based on taking an already fermented wine through a second fermentation process in a sealed container.
  • Pump an oak-loving white grape into a barrel to ferment and a richer, creamier wine is the result; finish off a red wine's fermentation in barrel and the reward is a softer, more approachable wine.
2 archaic Agitation; excitement: I had found Paris in high fermentation



Pronunciation: /fəːˈmɛntətɪv/
Example sentences
  • By definition, foregut fermentors comprise animals with a pregastric fermentation chambers such as the rumen, reticulum, and omasum of ruminants and diverticula or fermentative sacs of other ruminant-like mammals.
  • It is well established that adaptive responses, such as increased alcohol dehydrogenase gene expression and fermentative metabolism, are initiated under conditions of hypoxia, as well as anoxia.
  • The fermentative activity of these microbes results in the production of volatile fatty acids that are absorbed by the host animal and make a variable and in some cases considerable contribution to its nutritional economy.


Late Middle English: from late Latin fermentatio(n-), from Latin fermentare 'to ferment' (see ferment).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fer¦men|ta¦tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.