Definition of fester in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfestər/


[no object]
1(Of a wound or sore) become septic; suppurate: I developed a tropical sore that festered badly (as adjective festering) a festering abscess
More example sentences
  • By then the wound had festered and gangrene was starting to set in.
  • They have never seen leprosy or festering abscesses or sores that do not heal.
  • The 13 year-old suffered from serious skin ulcers on his right knee and the wound festered upward to his thigh.
suppurate, become septic, become infected, form pus, weep;
Medicine  be purulent
archaic rankle
1.1(Of food or garbage) become rotten and offensive to the senses: a gully full of garbage that festered in the shade
More example sentences
  • Weeks after the grand fête, the garbage generated festers in an illegal dump strewn along the Troumassee river bank.
  • Plates of baked beans on toast were festering near piles of unfinished homework on the dust covered desk.
  • You and your friends may not mind empties on the counter, pizza boxes growing mould and dishes festering in the kitchen and bathroom sinks and of course the bathtub, but it may be hazardous to your health.
rot, molder, decay, decompose, putrefy, go bad, spoil, deteriorate
1.2(Of a negative feeling or a problem) become worse or more intense, especially through long-term neglect or indifference: anger which festers and grows in his heart
More example sentences
  • Sinclair's likely departure will raise further questions about how last week's shake-up was handled and what long-term dissatisfaction may fester among others who lost out.
  • The threat may ultimately have less to do with competitive fire than with a readiness to let resentments fester and anger flare without feeling any need to bridle emotions or discipline his temper.
  • Without freedom of the press, such problems will only fester, and that is not in the long-term interest of the United States.
rankle, eat away, gnaw away, brew, smolder
1.3(Of a person) undergo physical and mental deterioration in isolated inactivity: I might be festering in jail now
More example sentences
  • The US then installed and consistently backed the Shah, who proceeded to abuse systematically human rights, to suppress all political activity and to enrich his cronies while his people festered in sprawling urban slums.
  • It has been more than a month since that half-point loss to the league's top team, and you're still festering.
  • In fact the evidence hints that they are as coolly fuzzy as ever, bands like this don't go away they just fester and get better in the process.


Late Middle English: from the rare word fester 'fistula,' later 'festering sore,' or Old French festrir (verb), both from Old French festre (noun), from Latin fistula 'pipe, reed, fistula'.

Words that rhyme with fester

arrester, Avesta, Chester, contester, ester, Esther, fiesta, Hester, investor, jester, Leicester, Lester, molester, Nestor, pester, polyester, protester, quester, semester, sequester, siesta, sou'wester, suggester, tester, trimester, vesta, zester

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fes·ter

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