verb (used without object)

  1. to form pus; generate purulent matter; suppurate.
  2. to cause ulceration, as a foreign body in the flesh.
  3. to putrefy or rot.
  4. to rankle, as a feeling of resentment.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to rankle: Malice festered his spirit.


  1. an ulcer; a rankling sore.
  2. a small, purulent, superficial sore.


  1. to form or cause to form pus
  2. (intr) to become rotten; decay
  3. to become or cause to become bitter, irritated, etc, esp over a long period of time; rankleresentment festered his imagination
  4. (intr) informal to be idle or inactive


  1. a small ulcer or sore containing pus

late 14c., from Old French festre “small sore discharging pus,” from Latin fistula “pipe, ulcer” (see fistula). The noun is from c.1300. Related: Festered; festering.


  1. To ulcerate.
  2. To form pus; putrefy.


  1. An ulcer.
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