mo·​lest | \ mə-ˈlest How to pronounce molest (audio) \
molested; molesting; molests

Definition of molest

transitive verb

1 : to make unwanted or improper sexual advances towards (someone) especially : to force physical and usually sexual contact on (someone) He was sent to prison for molesting children.
2 somewhat old-fashioned : to annoy, disturb, or persecute (a person or animal) especially with hostile intent or injurious effect Who doth molest my contemplation?— Shakespeare Bees flew past him, bees flew into him, bees settled upon his coat, bees paused questioningly in front of him … but not a single bee molested him.— P. G. Wodehouse At a hearing last week, activists persuaded the commission that the porcupines were being chased, molested and "worried" for human amusement.— Kelli Anderson

Other Words from molest

molestation \ ˌmō-​ˌle-​ˈstā-​shən How to pronounce molest (audio) , ˌmä-​ , -​lə-​ \ noun
molester \ mə-​ˈle-​stər How to pronounce molest (audio) \ 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 use of physical tests, like fat tests, as pretexts to molest young athletes has come up in other cases. New York Times, 11 May 2022 Remember those palmy days when conservative conspiracy theorists outside elective politics spread the word that Democrats wanted to molest your children? Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 13 May 2022 He’d been victimized by Paul Shanley, who used to take kids to a Stoneham campsite and molest them there., 22 Sep. 2021 During that time, Nassar continued to molest young girls under the guise of of medical treatment. Marisa Kwiatkowski, USA TODAY, 9 Aug. 2021 The students allege that the teacher molested them between 2008 and 2010, but that school officials had reports of the teacher's inappropriate behavior dating back to 2003. Sonali Kohli,, 24 May 2017

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.

First Known Use of molest

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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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Time Traveler for molest

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

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Dictionary Entries Near molest

mole snake



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Cite this Entry

“Molest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for molest


mo·​lest | \ mə-ˈlest How to pronounce molest (audio) \
molested; molesting

Kids Definition of molest

: to disturb or injure by interfering


transitive verb
mo·​lest | \ mə-ˈlest How to pronounce molest (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce molest (audio) \ noun
molester noun

More from Merriam-Webster on molest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for molest

Nglish: Translation of molest for Spanish Speakers


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