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

Detectives arrested Madruga Thursday on two felony counts of performing a lewd act on a child under 14 and two felony counts of harassing or molesting a child under 18, George said. City News Service,, "Man, 66, arrested, suspected of molesting a child at a hotel pool," 13 July 2018 The seven other former Ohio State wrestlers who have come forward in the past week say Jordan, who was Ohio State’s assistant wrestling coach from 1986-94, knew Strauss was molesting student-athletes and failed to do anything to stop him. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Jim Jordan defender: Ohio State locker room talk included ‘prepare to drop your pants’," 9 July 2018 Each of the plaintiffs allege that Siewerth molested male students during his teaching tenure. Genevieve Bookwalter,, "Evanston high school attorneys request more details about sex abuse allegations brought by 3 alumni," 7 July 2018 One wrestler suggested that Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, could have molested as many as 2,000 athletes during his 20-year tenure — a horrifying legacy reminiscent of Larry Nassar at Michigan State. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Jim Jordan and the Ohio State sexual abuse controversy, explained," 7 July 2018 Treddenbarger has been charged with molesting another young bowler. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "We go inside Amazon’s warehouse world, plus Kam Chancellor retires from the NFL | Monday Morning Brief, July 2," 2 July 2018 Texas prosecutors have filed additional charges in the ongoing Larry Nassar scandal, alleging that the disgraced sports doctor and a former gymnastics trainer molested young athletes at the famed Karolyi Ranch outside of Houston. David Wharton,, "Texas prosecutors charge Larry Nassar with sexual assault at Karolyi Ranch," 29 June 2018 Typically, police investigations into cases where an adult was molested as a child don't begin until that person speaks with officers. Tessa Neumann still has the ability to pursue legal action in multiple states. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Videos and sources undercut molestation denials by former BoDeans singer Sam Llanas," 21 June 2018 Robert Santiago, 52, of the 700 block of Juniper Road, has been charged with two counts of child molesting and one count of rape, according to charging documents. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Man, 52, held on rape, child molestation charges," 20 June 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

9 Sep 2018

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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

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to make amends

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