April 03, 2012
- foment (verb)
- What does it mean?
- : to stir up : rouse, instigate
- How do you use it?
- "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation." (Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams)
- Are you a word wiz?
"Foment" comes into English from another language. From which language do you think we borrowed "foment"?You'll foment no opposition if you chose answer C! "Foment" comes to us from the Latin word "fovere," meaning "to heat or soothe." The verb "fovere" gave rise to a noun in Latin, "fomentum," meaning "warm compress" (a compress is a type of cold or warm pack you place on an injury). "Fomentum" developed into the verb "fomentare," from which arose the Middle English verb "fomenten," meaning "to apply a warm substance to." By the early 1600s, the word had acquired its modern spelling "foment," as well as its current meaning of "to promote the growth or development of" or "incite."