To cause ferment of fermentation in; to set in motion; to excite internal emotion in; to heat. "Ye vigorous swains! while youth ferments your blood." (Pope)

Origin: L. Fermentare, fermentatum: cf. F. Fermenter. See Ferment.

1. That which causes fermentation, as yeast, barm, or fermenting beer.

Ferments are of two kinds: (a) Formed or organised ferments. (b) Unorganised or structureless ferments. The latter are also called soluble or chemical ferments, and enzymes. Ferments of the first class are as a rule simple microscopic vegetable organisms, and the fermentations which they engender are due to their growth and development; as, the acetic ferment, the butyric ferment, etc. See Fermentation. Ferments of the second class, on the other hand, are chemical substances, as a rule soluble in glycerin and precipitated by alcohol. In action they are catalytic and, mainly, hydrolytic. Good examples are pepsin of the dastric juice, ptyalin of the salvia, and disease of malt.

2. Intestine motion; heat; tumult; agitation. "Subdue and cool the ferment of desire." (Rogers) "the nation is in a ferment." (Walpole)

3. A gentle internal motion of the constituent parts of a fluid; fermentation. "Down to the lowest lees the ferment ran." (Thomson) ferment oils, volatile oils produced by the fermentation of plants, and not originally contained in them. These were the quintessences of the alchenists.

Origin: L. Fermentum ferment (in senses 1 & 2), perh. For fervimentum, fr. Fervere to be boiling hot, boil, ferment: cf. F. Ferment. Cf. 1st Barm, Fervent.

(01 Mar 1998)

Fergusson, Sir William, feria, Fermat prime < Prev | Next > fermentable, fermentation

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