ferment, foment
1. Ferment is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable as a noun and with the stress on the second syllable as a verb.
2. As verbs, ferment and foment are often confused because they are pronounced approximately the same way and their uses overlap in their figurative meanings. To ferment means literally ‘to effervesce or cause to effervesce’ (from Latin fervēre meaning ‘to boil’) and figuratively ‘to excite or become excited’; and so it can be transitive (with an object) or intransitive: you can ferment trouble or trouble can ferment. Foment means literally ‘to bathe with warm or medicated liquid’ (from Latin fomentum meaning ‘poultice’) and figuratively ‘to instigate or stir up’ (especially trouble). Foment is only transitive: you can foment trouble but trouble cannot foment. Examples:

• Gladstone's complaint in 1874 that the opposition fomented by the Daily News had been ‘one main cause’ of the weakness of his late government was, of course, a simplism —Times Literary Supplement, 1977

• He hosted the meetings where the rebellion was fomented which ousted Mrs Thatcher from power —Today, 1992

• What are the TUC on about? Why are they fermenting trouble at this of all moments? —People, 2002

• They funded courses in car mechanics and carpentry as a chance to own a business for unemployed young men whose frustration was fermenting dangerously —Sunday Times, 2007.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • ferment — [ fɛrmɑ̃ ] n. m. • 1380; lat. fermentum « levain », du supin de fervere « bouillir » 1 ♦ Ce qui fait naître un sentiment, une idée, ce qui détermine un changement interne. Un ferment de discorde. ⇒ germe, levain. Individus qui sont des ferments d …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ferment — FERMÉNT, fermenţi, s.m. (biol.) Substanţă proteică produsă de celule vii sau de microorganisme, care dirijează prin cataliză reacţiile de sinteză şi de degradare din organismele animalelor, plantelor şi microorganismelor, având un rol fundamental …   Dicționar Român

  • Ferment — Fer ment, n. [L. fermentum ferment (in senses 1 & 2), perh. for fervimentum, fr. fervere to be boiling hot, boil, ferment: cf. F. ferment. Cf. 1st {Barm}, {Fervent}.] 1. That which causes fermentation, as yeast, barm, or fermenting beer. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ferment — Sn Mittel um einen chemischen Prozeß durchzuführen per. Wortschatz fach. (15. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. fermentum Gärung, Sauerteig , einer Ableitung von l. fervēre wallen, sieden . Verb: fermentieren; Abstraktum: Fermentation.    Ebenso… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • ferment — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. fermentncie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} niepokój (także twórczy), wrzenie, wzburzenie : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Ferment społeczny, polityczny, kulturalny. Wywoływać… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • Ferment — Fer*ment , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fermented}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fermenting}.] [L. fermentare, fermentatum: cf. F. fermenter. See {Ferment}, n.] To cause ferment or fermentation in; to set in motion; to excite internal emotion in; to heat. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ferment — (v.) late 14c., from O.Fr. fermenter (13c.) and directly from L. fermentare to leaven, ferment, from fermentum substance causing fermentation, leaven, from root of fervere to boil, seethe (see BREW (Cf. brew)). Figurative use from 1650s. Related …   Etymology dictionary

  • ferment — [n1] substance causing chemicals to split into simpler substances bacteria, bacterium, barm, ebullition, enzyme, fermentation agent, leaven, leavening, mold, seethe, simmer, yeast; concept 478 ferment [n2] agitation, uprising ailment, brouhaha,… …   New thesaurus

  • Ferment — Fer*ment , v. i. 1. To undergo fermentation; to be in motion, or to be excited into sensible internal motion, as the constituent particles of an animal or vegetable fluid; to work; to effervesce. [1913 Webster] 2. To be agitated or excited by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ferment — FERMENT. s. m. Terme Dogmatique. Ce qui agite, & divise les parties les plus grossieres d un corps, en sorte qu il vient à se gonfler, & à occuper plus de place. Cela sert de ferment …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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