AskDefine | Define ferment

Dictionary Definition



1 a state of agitation or turbulent change or development; "the political ferment produced a new leadership"; "social unrest" [syn: agitation, fermentation, unrest]
2 a substance capable of bringing about fermentation
3 a process in which an agent causes an organic substance to break down into simpler substances; especially, the anaerobic breakdown of sugar into alcohol [syn: zymosis, zymolysis, fermentation, fermenting]
4 a chemical phenomenon in which an organic molecule splits into simpler substances [syn: fermentation]


1 be in an agitated or excited state; "The Middle East is fermenting"; "Her mind ferments"
2 work up into agitation or excitement; "Islam is fermenting Africa"
3 cause to undergo fermentation; "We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content"; "The vintner worked the wine in big oak vats" [syn: work]
4 go sour or spoil; "The milk has soured"; "The wine worked"; "The cream has turned--we have to throw it out" [syn: sour, turn, work]

User Contributed Dictionary



fermentare < fermentum < fervere. Confer French ferment, see also fervent.


  • (verb):
    • (UK) /fəˈmɛnt/, /f@"mEnt/
    • (US) /fɚˈmɛnt/, /f@`"mEnt/
  • (noun):
    • (UK) /ˈfɜːmɛnt/, /"f3:mEnt/
    • (US) /ˈfɝmɛnt/, /"f3`mEnt/


  1. To produce alcohol by allowing yeast to act on sugars in a mixture, to brew.
  2. To stir up, agitate, cause unrest.


to produce alcohol
to cause unrest


  1. Something, such as a yeast that causes fermentation.
  2. A state of agitation or of turbulent change.
  3. A catalyst.


* 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 104
  • Clad in a Persian-Renaissance gown and a widow's tiara of white batiste, Mrs Thoroughfare, in all the ferment of a Marriage-Christening, left her chamber on vapoury autumn day and descending a few stairs, and climbing a few others, knocked a trifle brusquely at her son's wife's door.


substance causing fermentation
state of agitation

See also


  • Online Etymology Dictionary}}

Extensive Definition

Fermentation may mean:
  • Fermentation (biochemistry), the process of energy production in a cell under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen)
  • Ethanol fermentation, a form of anaerobic respiration used primarily by yeasts when oxygen is not present in sufficient quantity for normal cellular respiration
  • Industrial fermentation, the breakdown and re-assembly of biochemicals for industry, often in aerobic growth conditions
In food science, fermentation may mean:
  • Fermentation (food), the conversion of carbohydrates into alcohols or acids under anaerobic conditions used for making certain foods
  • Fermentation (wine), the process of fermentation commonly used in winemaking
  • Fermentation (beer), the process of fermentation commonly used in brewing beer.
  • Fermentation (tea), the name used in the tea industry for the aerobic treatment of tea leaves to break down certain unwanted chemicals and modify others to develop the flavour of the tea
Ferment may refer to:
ferment in German: Zymologie
ferment in Esperanto: Zimologio
ferment in French: Zymologie
ferment in Slovenian: Fermentacija

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acetification, acetify, acidification, acidify, acidulate, acidulation, ado, agent, agitate, agitation, ailment, alkalify, alkalization, alkalize, alterant, alterative, alterer, arouse, bacteria, beat, beat up, blow the coals, blubber, bluster, bobbery, boil, boil over, boiling, borate, bother, botheration, brawl, brew, broil, brouhaha, bubble, bubble over, bubble up, bubbliness, bubbling, burble, burst, bustle, buttermilk, cacophony, carbon dioxide, carbonate, carbonation, catalysis, catalyst, catalytic agent, catalyze, chaos, chemical, chemicalization, chlorinate, churn, churn up, clamor, commotion, conturbation, convulse, convulsion, disarrange, discompose, discomposure, disorder, disquiet, disquietude, disturb, disturbance, dudgeon, ebullience, ebulliency, ebullition, eddy, effervesce, effervescence, effervescency, electrolysis, electrolyze, embroilment, enzyme, excite, excitement, fan, fan the flame, fanaticism, feed the fire, feery-fary, fermentation, fever, feverishness, fidgetiness, fidgets, fire, fit, fizz, fizzle, flap, flurry, fluster, flutter, flutteration, flutteriness, foam, foaming, foment, fomentation, foofaraw, frenzy, fret, froth, frothiness, frothing, fume, furor, furore, fury, fuss, fussiness, guggle, gurgle, heat, heat up, high dudgeon, hiss, homopolymerize, hubbub, huff, hullabaloo, hurly-burly, hurry, hurry-scurry, hydrate, hydrogenate, hydrogenation, hydroxylate, impassion, incense, incite, inflame, innovationist, innovator, inquietude, instigate, introducer, isomerism, isomerize, jitters, jumpiness, leaven, leavening, maelstrom, malaise, metamerism, metamerization, miff, modificator, modifier, moil, mother, nerviness, nervosity, nervousness, nettle, nitrate, nitration, outcry, oxidation, oxidization, oxidize, paddle, pandemonium, passion, pell-mell, pepsin, pepsinate, peroxidize, perturb, perturbate, perturbation, pet, phosphatization, phosphatize, pique, plop, polymerism, polymerization, polymerize, position isomerism, pother, precursor, provoke, put up to, racket, rage, raise, rally, reduce, reduction, restiveness, restlessness, rile, ripple, rise, roil, roughen, rouse, rout, row, ruckus, ruffle, rumple, rumpus, saturization, scramble, seethe, seething, set on, shake, shake up, sic on, simmer, smolder, soda, sour, sparkle, spasm, spumescence, spurt, stew, stir, stir the embers, stir up, storminess, sulfate, sulfatize, sulfonate, sweat, swirl, swirling, tempestuousness, tickle, tiff, to-do, transformer, transmogrifier, trepidation, trepidity, trouble, tumult, tumultuation, tumultuousness, turbidity, turbulence, turmoil, turn sour, twitter, unease, unquiet, unrest, upheaval, uproar, upset, upturn, vinegar, vortex, whet, whip, whip up, whirl, whisk, wildness, work, work up, working, yeast, yeastiness, zeal, zealousness
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