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

Nienstedt resigned as archbishop after Minnesota prosecutors charged the Twin Cities archdiocese with failing to protect children from a predator priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Vatican urged to reveal status of ousted US archbishop," 18 Dec. 2018 As in the Larry Nassar case, in which more than 150 women testified at a sentencing hearing for the former Michigan State doctor accused of molesting young gymnasts, the judge could allow Cosby’s dozens of accusers to testify in open court. NBC News, "Bill Cosby could be sentenced to 30 years in prison. But it's likely to be much less.," 27 Apr. 2018 Three years after his misdemeanor battery conviction, for example, Florida doctor Dhaliwal was acquitted of molesting another patient. Anna Beahm,, "Active shooter situation ongoing on Blount County," 14 Apr. 2018 If Icke can convince people that the world is run by a cabal of mostly Jewish lizard people who are molesting and murdering kids — well, who knows what his followers will do with that belief? Constance Grady, Vox, "The Alice Walker anti-Semitism controversy, explained," 20 Dec. 2018 No woman should be raped or molested or touched against her will. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "A Tale of Two Cities: A Snapshot of Washington D.C. On the Historic Kavanaugh-Ford Hearing Day," 27 Sep. 2018 The platform routinely serves videos espousing neo-Nazi propaganda, phony reports portraying dark-skinned people as violent savages and conspiracy theories claiming that large numbers of leading politicians and celebrities molested children. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Congress missed another chance to hold big tech accountable," 12 Dec. 2018 In Alabama, faced with a choice between a Democrat and a man credibly accused of molesting under-age girls, local business lobbies sat the election out rather than switch sides. The Economist, "Made out of glueDonald Trump may make some businessfolk cringe," 8 Mar. 2018 Nassar, who was the USA Gymnastics team doctor, is serving a prison sentence of up to 175 years after pleading guilty to molesting nine patients and a family friend and to possession of child pornography. NBC News, "MSU dean who was Larry Nassar's boss hit with new sex accusations," 25 Apr. 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

11 Feb 2019

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
old-fashioned : 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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excited commotion or publicity

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