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

Released on parole after 8 years, Bible repeatedly raped and molested five younger relatives in the back of a converted bus. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Houston serial killer Danny Bible scheduled for execution tonight," 27 June 2018 Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting women and girls under the guise of treatment and was caught with child pornography. Houston Chronicle, "USA Gymnastics VP Rhonda Faehn out amid fallout from Larry Nassar scandal," 18 May 2018 Nassar was sentenced this year to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting nine victims in the Lansing area. David Eggert, Detroit Free Press, "Bill: College leaders must be told of sex misconduct cases," 11 Apr. 2018 After he was accused of molesting his young special needs son, Jose Cordero spent 35 days in a Miami jail and was barred from seeing his family for months. David Ovalle And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "How a teacher’s ‘junk science’ landed a dad in jail on charge of raping his autistic son | Miami Herald," 8 Mar. 2018 Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting female athletes under the guise of medical treatment and was sentenced to life in prison. Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. Olympic Committee chief steps down amid fallout from abuse scandal," 28 Feb. 2018 Nassar pleaded guilty in November to molesting 10 girls. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Like Penn State with Sandusky, Michigan State failed to stop Nassar," 22 Jan. 2018 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

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

7 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

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