Definition of ferment in US English:



Pronunciation /fərˈment//fərˈmɛnt/
  • 1no object (of a substance) undergo fermentation.

    ‘the drink had fermented, turning some of the juice into alcohol’
    • ‘Still produced in the same way to this very day, grapes are picked and pressed early in the growing season and the free-run juice fermented for ten days.’
    • ‘It never tastes the same here because in those countries they put the barrels of beetroot on the roof where they freeze in the cold winters and the sugar ferments in the same way as applejack.’
    • ‘If fermented fruit on the ground is out of the question, so too is the notion that the fruit could ferment in the stomach of elephants, the study authors say.’
    • ‘If left unattended, juices will ferment into wine.’
    • ‘As red wine ferments, grape skins and pulp rise to the top of the tank, creating a ‘cap.’’
    • ‘Without lactase, milk and other lactose-rich foods ferment in the intestine, releasing excessive gas.’
    • ‘If kept at room temperature, the manure may eventually ferment or decompose, with significant breakdown of the solids.’
    • ‘The strained juice ferments into an alcoholic beverage and is taken as a general tonic.’
    • ‘Next, the juice is placed in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels where the wine will ferment following the addition of yeast.’
    • ‘But the film has clearly fermented beautifully, showing its age and era in the most delightful ways.’
    • ‘A type of sugar, glucose is manufactured in vast quantities, for example in corn syrup fermented from corn starch.’
    • ‘The palm juice gradually fermented into a complex and potent brew.’
    • ‘As soy milk ferments easily, many such products available at supermarkets are loaded with preservatives.’
    • ‘Therefore the distiller must let the skins from white grapes ferment before distilling them.’
    • ‘It gets all these remarkable qualities from soybeans fermented with a special culture.’
    • ‘When the mulch is compacted too tight, this air flow cannot take place, and as the mulch continues to decompose it becomes extremely hot as the organic matter ferments.’
    • ‘Mixed with water and sugar and flavored with ginger and other herbs, the rice ferments for 20 days to become alcoholic.’
    • ‘Otherwise, the sugar will ferment and could cause deadly salmonella poisoning to hummingbirds.’
    • ‘When milk ferments, naturally or aided by chemicals in the dairy, the milk changes into a solid fraction and a watery fraction (whey).’
    • ‘He just didn't see why he should have to subsidise the French wine industry (when a tub of crushed grapes would happily ferment in Spain, or Australia or even Bulgaria).’
    undergo fermentation, brew
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    1. 1.1with object Cause the fermentation of (a substance).
      • ‘The starch stored in natural plant sugars is harvested and then the sugar is fermented into lactic acid.’
      • ‘People in ancient China, India and the Mediterranean region employed biochemistry for making bread with yeast, fermenting beer and wine, and treating diseases with plant and animal extracts.’
      • ‘He ferments a mixture of locally produced milk, cow manure, ashes, and molasses.’
      • ‘Yeast ferments the sugars in the malt to alcohol while the hops provide bitter flavour and aroma.’
      • ‘What happens is that yeasts ferment the sugar in the grapes into alcohol, producing wine.’
      • ‘However, he found that, when he added some of the boiled and presumably useless yeast juice to an active batch, the active yeast juice suddenly showed an increased capacity to ferment glucose.’
      • ‘It means that the winery itself actually crushed the grapes, fermented the juice and put the wine into bottles.’
      • ‘When the beer is fully fermented it is transferred to bottles.’
      • ‘In the making of white wine, only the pressed juice of the grapes is fermented.’
      • ‘Yeasts have been used for centuries by peoples worldwide to ferment sugar to alcohol; the drug penicillin was found in a mould.’
      • ‘In this case, the beer is fully fermented, then filtered to remove the yeast, then carbonated and stored in a tightly sealed keg, ready for immediate drinking.’
      • ‘The bacteria that live there release hydrogen and carbon dioxide when they ferment the lactose.’
      • ‘Native bacteria ferment natural sugars to lactic acid, a major flavoring and preservative in sauerkraut and in naturally fermented dills.’
      • ‘It is a hard, crystalline substance which forms as grapes are fermented into wine.’
      • ‘Because red wines are fermented with the grape skins, tannin levels are far higher in red wines than in white wines.’
      • ‘Half of the wine was fermented in stainless steel, the other in basically neutral oak barrels.’
      • ‘Good bacteria ferment lactose by converting it to lactic acid.’
      • ‘Experts disagree whether the yeasts that ferment sourdough bread cultures originate in the grain or the air, but you can be sure there are plenty of them available wherever you live.’
      • ‘The mixture is then fermented with sugar, doused with water, covered for 7 days, and turned.’
      • ‘It is the tiny microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria which do the work, fermenting the sugars present in the fruits into alcohol and acids.’
  • 2with object Incite or stir up (trouble or disorder)

    ‘the politicians and warlords who are fermenting this chaos’
    • ‘The problem is, that we can't ferment the democratic revolution ourselves, because most of the democratizers seem to be saying to us, keep your distance.’
    • ‘I would not want anything to be said in relation to that that would ferment any problems.’
    • ‘Indiscreet activities by public officials are likely to drive ordinary people to ignore the law, thereby fermenting social unrest.’
    • ‘The problems this may pose have not been clearly defined and laid out for discussion, partly because they are not well understood but also because nobody wants to be accused of fermenting fear or hate.’
    • ‘‘The principal and his henchmen blamed us for fermenting trouble and putting dangerous ideas in the heads of young people,’ he says.’
    • ‘Apparently an army of anarchists is going to descend on Dublin from all corners of Europe and ferment trouble.’
    cause, bring on, bring about, give rise to, lead to, result in, generate, engender, spawn, instigate, prompt, provoke, incite, excite, arouse, stir up, whip up, foment, kindle, trigger off, spark off, touch off
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    1. 2.1no object (of a negative feeling or memory) fester and develop into something worse.
      ‘it had been fermenting in my subconscious for a while’
      • ‘Separation is painful, and anger and resentment often ferment during the legal proceedings.’
      • ‘I dare say that, during some of the time I've spent staring into space this week, these ideas have in fact been developing and fermenting in my mind like hops in a big yeasty vat.’
      • ‘She recognises that if she doesn't get out now, those emotions could ferment into something darker.’
      • ‘In the 90 pages are gathered a bountiful harvest of memories fermented in the native psyche of the rural heartlands and folk memories of the region.’
      • ‘It is a fear that may now ferment in the minds of the players.’


Pronunciation /ˈfərˌmənt//ˈfərˌmənt/
  • 1Agitation and excitement among a group of people, typically concerning major change and leading to trouble or violence.

    ‘Germany at this time was in a state of religious ferment’
    • ‘More than 3,500 Scots, mainly woman and children, and their cats were killed in witch hunts at a time of political intrigue and religious ferment.’
    • ‘Much of this cultural ferment was a reaction to colonialism, as Nigerians were rediscovering their own cultures, their history, and forming a sense of their national identity.’
    • ‘So why hasn't this current era of political ferment summoned forth great literary and dramatic works that tackle and synthesise contemporary political and ideological movements in a creative and imaginative way?’
    • ‘It was into this milieu of religious ferment, focused in particular on the temple and Jerusalem, that John the Baptist and Jesus came.’
    • ‘That suggests greater ferment - and more excitement - in Singapore's arts scene.’
    • ‘By polarising discontent, it is transforming it from ferment to turmoil into energy spent constructively.’
    • ‘Out of this extraordinary ferment of experimentation came a major breakthrough.’
    • ‘In this ferment, a group of men meeting often in the apartments and taverns of the High Street - ministers, lawyers, private individuals - set themselves to examine the changed environment.’
    • ‘The underlying political ferment among many social strata is revealed by a growing number of smaller protests and meetings.’
    • ‘Hollenstein's education also went on outside the studio classroom, for Munich was a major site of artistic ferment in the first decade of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘But the intellectual firepower that underlies any such revolution is growing; the region is in the throes of genuine pro-democratic ferment.’
    • ‘It was August 1942 and the country was in ferment.’
    • ‘The ferment excited those pedagogical leaders who agreed with its direction, but it was disheartening for those teachers and parents who wanted schools and classrooms where the adults were in charge.’
    • ‘The Quaker movement started in England in the mid-17th century, a time of great religious and political ferment.’
    • ‘Political and religious ideas were also in ferment.’
    • ‘Doubt, anxiety, and inward contemplation remain cornerstones of modern thinking and subjectivity, and their origins can be traced back to the religious ferment of the period 1400-1600.’
    • ‘We are entering a new period of important and hopeful change in America, a period comparable to those eras that unleashed such remarkable ferment in the period of Jefferson and Jackson and Roosevelt.’
    • ‘His analysis of the causes of agrarian unrest and ferment in Punjab was proved correct.’
    • ‘It was a time of excitement and cultural/political ferment.’
    • ‘There is still the sense of scientific, political and religious ferment, although Pears is a much more literary writer.’
    fever, furore, frenzy, tumult, storm, flurry, bustle, hubbub, brouhaha, stir, fuss, stew, ruckus, clamour
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  • 2archaic A fermenting agent or enzyme.

    • ‘In my opinion, the albuminous materials were never the ferments, but the nutrients of the ferment.’
    • ‘Namely, do you believe in ‘reality,’ or more specifically, ‘did ferments exist before Pasteur made them up?’’
    • ‘The recent literature on ferments seemed to indicate that enzymes were a more likely candidate.’
    • ‘They have a slightly gamy flavour, due to the enzymes or ferments from the gut.’
    leavening, ferment, fermentation agent, raising agent, yeast, barm, baking powder
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Late Middle English: from Old French ferment (noun), fermenter (verb), based on Latin fermentum ‘yeast’, from fervere ‘to boil’.