Definition of foment in English:


See synonyms for foment

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transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action)

    ‘they accused him of fomenting political unrest’
    • ‘The working class must reject all such attempts to foment nationalist sentiments in the name of defending the welfare state.’
    • ‘But by the same token, it's not a good thing for them to be fomenting world opinion against us either.’
    • ‘Most people can sense a ‘grand design’ to bring Indonesia to its knees by fomenting violence and unrest across the archipelago.’
    • ‘The question, of course, is ‘Will he foment violence?’’
    • ‘Some sharp-tongued commentators even take delight in instigating crowds and fomenting a rebellion.’
    • ‘They could use their combat skills to foment a violent revolution.’
    • ‘This has already had the effect of increasing tensions and is fomenting political hatred.’
    • ‘Nuclear weapons research went on, but beyond the public gaze and without any open attempt to foment jingoism or gain political mileage.’
    • ‘That detention, according to authorities, was for his own safety, which later changed when he was charged with fomenting violence.’
    • ‘It is used to foment fear and political disorientation as a means of pushing through policies that were previously politically unthinkable.’
    • ‘These religious schools still preach an insidious doctrine that foments the sectarian violence that is increasingly a threat to the stability of Pakistan.’
    • ‘If the mediascape is not open and pluralistic, these viewpoints may leave the democratic sphere and foment violence.’
    • ‘But the government is surely watching, aware that Internet discussions can foment unrest.’
    • ‘The fairies created fairy dust to foment, or stir up trouble.’
    • ‘The economic crisis fomented significant unrest in both countries, leading to a rise in nationalist fervor and rhetoric.’
    • ‘In fact, we think she's a Utopian sent to foment unrest within the Confederacy.’
    instigate, incite, provoke, agitate, excite, stir up, whip up, arouse, inspire, encourage, urge, actuate, initiate, generate, cause, prompt, start, bring about, kindle, spark off, trigger off, touch off, fan the flames of
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  • 2 archaic Bathe (a part of the body) with warm or medicated lotions.

    ‘Foment the limb with cloths immersed in a strong decoction of hops, and repeat two or three times a day.’
    • ‘The ear may likewise be fomented with steams of warm water, or flannel bags filled with boiled mallows and camomile flowers may be applied to it warm.’



/fōˈment/ /foʊˈmɛnt/


Late Middle English (in foment (sense 2)): from French fomenter, from late Latin fomentare, from Latin fomentum ‘poultice, lotion’, from fovere ‘to heat, cherish’.