Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 12, 2020 is:
foment FOH-ment verb
Rumors that the will was a fake fomented a lot of bitterness between the two families.
“Last year, the country leaked personal information of an American official in Hong Kong, accusing her of fomenting unrest….” — Shibani Mahtani, The Washington Post, 22 May 2020
Did you know?
If you had sore muscles in the 1600s, your doctor might have advised you to foment the injury, perhaps with heated lotions or warm wax. Does this sound like an odd prescription? Not if you know that foment traces to the Latin verb fovēre, which means “to heat or warm” or “to soothe.” The earliest documented English uses of foment appear in medical texts offering advice on how to soothe various aches and pains by the application of moist heat. In time, the idea of applying heat became a metaphor for stimulating or rousing to action. Foment then started being used in political contexts to mean “to stir up” or “to call to action.”