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From Middle English fomenten, a borrowing from Old French fomenter[1], from Late Latin fomentare, from Latin fōmentum (lotion), from fovere (heat, cherish).



foment (third-person singular simple present foments, present participle fomenting, simple past and past participle fomented)

  1. To incite or cause troublesome acts; to encourage; to instigate.
    He was arrested for fomenting a riot; after all, it's bad enough being in a riot but starting one is much worse.
    Foreign governments have tried to foment unrest.
  2. (medicine) To apply a poultice to; to bathe with a cloth or sponge.
    Synonym: beath
    • 1904, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, Norton (2005), page 1178,
      The maid had entered with us, and began once more to foment the bruise upon her mistress's brow.

Derived terms[edit]



English Wikipedia has an article on:

foment (plural foments)

  1. Fomentation.
    • (Can we date this quote by Julian Ralph and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      He came in no conciliatory mood, and the foment was kept up.


  1. ^ foment” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.