ferment v. to create carbon dioxide and alcohol from carbohydrate-rich substances via an enzymatic process.
foment v. to promote or encourage; to incite.
Words in the Wild: Zach, after trying to climb up on the porch roof, set to fomenting discord between his two older sisters before falling asleep at the dinner table. Wondering what was up with him, his dad checked the fridge to see if the grape juice had fermented or something.
This post was inspired by some characters trying to ferment a rebellion in one of the books I was working on today. I suppose they might have been plying the masses with ale in the spirit of rabble-rousing, but I helped them in their efforts by changing the word to foment.
And, yes, I know Webster’s says you can use ferment to mean foment, but I’m afraid I’m just not willing to budge on this one. Beg to differ? Let me know in the comments and we can foment a debate.
Still vexed? You can find a complete list of the Word Blog’s lexical vexations here.