from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something, such as a yeast, bacterium, mold, or enzyme, that causes fermentation.
  • n. Fermentation.
  • n. A state of agitation or of turbulent change or development.
  • n. An agent that precipitates or is capable of precipitating such a state; a catalyst.
  • transitive v. To produce by or as if by fermentation.
  • transitive v. To cause to undergo fermentation.
  • transitive v. To make turbulent; excite or agitate.
  • intransitive v. To undergo fermentation.
  • intransitive v. To be in an excited or agitated state; seethe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To react, using fermentation; especially to produce alcohol by aging or by allowing yeast to act on sugars; to brew.
  • v. To stir up, agitate, cause unrest.
  • n. Something, such as a yeast that causes fermentation.
  • n. A state of agitation or of turbulent change.
  • n. A catalyst.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which causes fermentation, as yeast, barm, or fermenting beer.
  • n. Intestine motion; heat; tumult; agitation.
  • n. A gentle internal motion of the constituent parts of a fluid; fermentation.
  • intransitive v. To undergo fermentation; to be in motion, or to be excited into sensible internal motion, as the constituent particles of an animal or vegetable fluid; to work; to effervesce.
  • intransitive v. To be agitated or excited by violent emotions.
  • transitive v. To cause ferment or fermentation in; to set in motion; to excite internal emotion in; to heat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to boil gently; cause ebullition in.
  • To cause fermentation in.
  • Figuratively, to set in agitation; excite; arouse.
  • To undergo fermentation.
  • Figuratively, to be in agitation; be excited, as by violent emotions or passions, or great problems.
  • n. A gentle boiling, or the internal motion of the constituent parts of a fluid.
  • n. That which is capable of causing fermentation.
  • n. Figuratively, commotion; heat; tumult; agitation: as, to put the passions in a ferment.
  • n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a substance capable of bringing about fermentation
  • n. a state of agitation or turbulent change or development
  • v. be in an agitated or excited state
  • v. cause to undergo fermentation
  • v. work up into agitation or excitement
  • n. a process in which an agent causes an organic substance to break down into simpler substances; especially, the anaerobic breakdown of sugar into alcohol
  • v. go sour or spoil


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fermentum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fermentare ("to leaven, ferment"), from fermentum ("substance causing fermentation"), from fervere ("to boil, seethe"). Confer French ferment, see also fervent. (Wiktionary)



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