mo·lest | \mə-ˈlest \
molested; molesting; molests

Definition of molest 

transitive verb

1 : to annoy, disturb, or persecute especially with hostile intent or injurious effect The zookeeper warned the visitors not to molest the animals.

2 : to make annoying sexual advances to especially : to force physical and usually sexual contact on He was sent to prison for molesting children.

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Other Words from molest

molestation \ˌmō-ˌles-ˈtā-shən, ˌmä-, -ləs- \ noun
molester \mə-ˈles-tər \ noun

Examples of molest in a Sentence

He was sent to jail for molesting children. It was illegal to molest, capture, or kill any of the animals in the park.

Recent Examples on the Web

The team doctor, Richard Strauss, regularly molested players and hung out in the team locker room while the team showered or sat in the sauna, according to the former wrestlers. Marilyn Icsman,, "Here's the latest on Rep. Jim Jordan's sexual abuse scandal," 9 July 2018 There’s also the allegation in the film that Houston was molested by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick, who has been dead since 2008. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "'Whitney' Director Kevin Macdonald on Capturing Houston's Magical Rise and Tragic Fall," 3 July 2018 Jarzembowski says his roommate was first molested by the older seminarian when both were minors, but that the molestation continued after the older seminarian turned 18. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse," 1 July 2018 At his sentencing, the girl, now 16, told the judge the priest repeatedly molested her, starting in the first grade. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Milwaukee priest jailed for sexual contact served at St. Mark's Parish in Phoenix in 1970s," 17 May 2018 The Torrance Unified School District has agreed to a $31-million settlement with 25 current and former students who were molested by a wrestling coach, days before the civil case was expected to go to trial. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "Torrance Unified reaches $31-million settlement with students abused by wrestling coach," 10 May 2018 Over the next two years, the girl’s paternal grandfather repeatedly molested her, according to the suit. Aimee Green,, "DHS ignored girl who reported grandfather's abuse, $6m suit says," 8 May 2018 The call that resonates with her involved a man who was molesting his two stepdaughters. Michael Williams,, "During crime victims' darkest moments, volunteer advocates lend a shoulder," 13 Apr. 2018 More than 110 children in Native villages were molested between 1959 and 1986, raped or assaulted by 12 priests and three church volunteers. Trevor Storrs, Anchorage Daily News, "As we debate Prop. 1, let’s keep the information accurate," 4 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'molest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of molest

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for molest

Middle English, from Anglo-French molester, from Latin molestare, from molestus burdensome, annoying; akin to Latin moles mass

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Dictionary Entries near molest

mole shrew


mole snake





Statistics for molest

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for molest

The first known use of molest was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for molest



English Language Learners Definition of molest

: to harm (someone) through sexual contact : to touch (someone) in a sexual and improper way

: to bother or annoy (someone or something)


mo·lest | \mə-ˈlest \
molested; molesting

Kids Definition of molest

: to disturb or injure by interfering

mo·lest | \mə-ˈlest \

Legal Definition of molest 

1 : to annoy, disturb, or persecute especially with hostile intent or injurious effect

2 : to make annoying sexual advances to specifically : to force physical and usually sexual contact on (as a child)

Other Words from molest

molestation \ˌmō-ˌles-ˈtā-shən, ˌmä-, -ləs- \ noun
molester noun

More from Merriam-Webster on molest

Spanish Central: Translation of molest

Nglish: Translation of molest for Spanish Speakers

Comments on molest

What made you want to look up molest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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