To fester is to grow and spread, not in a good way. When a cut gets infected it starts to fester and smell bad. Emotional wounds stink too, like when you hold on to anger or pain until it starts to fester and explodes.

Fester is a verb describing what happens to a wound or a sore that gets worse and has liquid, or pus, oozing out. Infections cause cuts, broken bones, and diseases to fester. Dead bodies can fester too — as they decompose. Things that fester have a decaying odor, and bad feelings can have a decaying effect on friendships and the heart. Letting bitter emotions fester often leads to their getting worse.

Definitions of fester
  1. verb
    ripen and generate pus
    “her wounds are festering
    synonyms: maturate, suppurate
    mature, suppurate
    cause to ripen and discharge pus
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    type of:
    discharge, eject, exhaust, expel, release
    eliminate (a substance)
  2. verb
    become putrid; decay with an offensive smell
    synonyms: putrefy
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    type of:
    decay, degrade
    undergo decay or decomposition
  3. noun
    a sore that has become inflamed and formed pus
    synonyms: suppurating sore
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    type of:
    an open skin infection
  4. verb
    gnaw into; make resentful or angry
    synonyms: eat into, fret, gnaw, grate, rankle
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    type of:
    annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
Word Family

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