mo·​lest | \ mə-ˈlest How to pronounce molest (audio) \
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-​ˌle-​ˈstā-​shən How to pronounce molestation (audio) , ˌmä-​ , -​lə-​ \ noun
molester \ mə-​ˈle-​stər How to pronounce molester (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

In season one Daenerys was raped, molested, and traded like property by her own brother. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Daenerys Targaryen Will Sit on the Iron Throne on Game of Thrones, and You Know It," 12 Apr. 2019 Scicluna’s return to Rome comes as Francis and the church at large are under fire again for the way the Vatican and religious superiors around the globe turned a blind eye to priests who raped and molested children. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope gives Vatican’s sex abuse expert new role amid crisis," 13 Nov. 2018 Laws go only so far in breaking a practice rooted in what many Indians see as an economic necessity in marrying off a young girl and a need to avoid damaging family honor if she is raped or molested. The Christian Science Monitor, "India’s swing in favor of girls," 17 Apr. 2018 Collins, 63, was arrested in 1995 and later convicted of molesting and raping an 11-year-old girl. Doug Phillips,, "Janitor with sex predator past fired from LGBTQ center after uproar, reports say," 9 Apr. 2018 Investigators said her husband, Jayson Colbert, molested and raped the children on multiple occasions between 1997 and 2010. Indianapolis Star, "Husband, wife sentenced in Hamilton County child molestation case," 15 Jan. 2018 Four years after Berkebile says she was molested, another patient, 3-year-old Kelsey Bowman, had an appointment with Barto. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Regulators OK’d child doc charged with abuse," 31 Oct. 2018 Among those who have said they were molested by Nassar at the ranch and at other locations under the guise of medical care are Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Jordyn Wieber. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Walker County officials, Texas Rangers to discuss Karolyi Ranch investigation at press conference," 28 June 2018 And according to the Washington Post article, the group provides counseling and other support for former scouts who say they were molested. Karla Peterson,, "Why girls do not need the Boy Scouts," 9 May 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

6 May 2019

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Time Traveler for molest

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

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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 How to pronounce molest (audio) \
molested; molesting

Kids Definition of molest

: to disturb or injure by interfering
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 molestation (audio) \ noun
molester noun

More from Merriam-Webster on molest

Spanish Central: Translation of molest

Nglish: Translation of molest for Spanish Speakers

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using a distributed computer network

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