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ferment (v.)

late 14c. (intransitive), from Old French fermenter (13c.) and directly from Latin fermentare "to leaven, cause to rise or ferment," from fermentum "substance causing fermentation, leaven, drink made of fermented barley," perhaps contracted from *fervimentum, from root of fervere "to boil, seethe" (from PIE root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn"). Transitive use from 1670s. Figurative use from 1650s. Related: Fermented; fermenting.

ferment (n.)

early 15c., from Old French ferment (14c.), from Latin fermentum "leaven, yeast; drink made of fermented barley;" figuratively "anger, passion" (see ferment (v.)). Figurative sense of "anger, passion, commotion" in English is from 1670s.

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Definitions of ferment from WordNet
1
ferment (v.)
be in an agitated or excited state;
Her mind ferments
The Middle East is fermenting
ferment (v.)
work up into agitation or excitement;
This religion is fermenting Africa
ferment (v.)
cause to undergo fermentation;
We ferment the grapes for a very long time to achieve high alcohol content
Synonyms: work
ferment (v.)
go sour or spoil;
Synonyms: sour / turn / work
2
ferment (n.)
a state of agitation or turbulent change or development;
the political ferment produced new leadership
Synonyms: agitation / fermentation / tempestuousness / unrest
ferment (n.)
a substance capable of bringing about fermentation;
ferment (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;
Synonyms: zymosis / zymolysis / fermentation / fermenting
From wordnet.princeton.edu