1. Also called organized ferment. any of a group of living organisms, as yeasts, molds, and certain bacteria, that cause fermentation.
  2. Also called unorganized ferment. an enzyme.
  3. fermentation.
  4. agitation; unrest; excitement; commotion; tumult: The new painters worked in a creative ferment. The capital lived in a political ferment.

verb (used with object)

  1. to act upon as a ferment.
  2. to cause to undergo fermentation.
  3. to inflame; foment: to ferment prejudiced crowds to riot.
  4. to cause agitation or excitement in: Reading fermented his active imagination.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be fermented; undergo fermentation.
  2. to seethe with agitation or excitement.

noun (ˈfɜːmɛnt)

  1. any agent or substance, such as a bacterium, mould, yeast, or enzyme, that causes fermentation
  2. another word for fermentation
  3. commotion; unrest

verb (fəˈmɛnt)

  1. to undergo or cause to undergo fermentation
  2. to stir up or seethe with excitement

late 14c., from Old French fermenter (13c.) and directly from Latin fermentare “to leaven, ferment,” from fermentum “substance causing fermentation, leaven,” from root of fervere “to boil, seethe” (see brew). Figurative use from 1650s. Related: Fermented; fermenting.


early 15c., from Middle French ferment, from Latin fermentum (see ferment (v.)). Figurative sense of “anger, passion” is from 1670s.


  1. An agent, as a yeast, bacterium, mold, or enzyme, that causes fermentation.
  2. Fermentation.


  1. To cause or undergo fermentation.

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