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

Investigators have not publicly commented on whether Lund suspected of molesting any of his students. John Glidden, The Mercury News, "Ex-Vallejo teacher pleads guilty to child enticement; school failed to discipline him for contacting girl in 2017," 5 Sep. 2019 In one instance, the attorneys who intend to represent the victims in the New Jersey cases, said that one scoutmaster, convicted of molesting boys in the 1960s was allowed to repeatedly return as a volunteer leading scout groups. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Three Connecticut men plan to use New Jersey law to sue Boy Scouts of America for decades-old sexual abuse," 30 Aug. 2019 Kramer, a co-founder, hasn’t been involved since his August 2000 arrest on charges of molesting two brothers, aged 13 and 15. Washington Post, "Dragon Con co-founder’s legal saga marked by strange twists," 27 Aug. 2019 The doctor, Reginald Archibald, has been accused of molesting hundreds of child patients over a 30-year period. David Klepper,, "Flurry of suits emerge as NY opens door to old abuse claims," 14 Aug. 2019 Nassar, a former doctor for both Team U.S.A. and Michigan State, was accused of molesting over 300 athletes under the guise of medical treatment. Danielle Allentuck, New York Times, "Simone Biles Set a New Standard. Can U.S.A. Gymnastics Do the Same?," 12 Aug. 2019 Epstein, 66, was accused of molesting dozens of underage girls, most of them 14 to 16 years old, at his Palm Beach mansion more than a decade ago. Julie K. Brown And Jay Weaver,, "Lead U.S. prosecutor in ’08 Epstein case — who sources say wanted to charge him — resigns," 9 Aug. 2019 Minh Hoa Truong, 57, is accused of molesting an underage boy after the boy's mother finished her nail appointment, police said in a news release. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "Mesa nail salon worker accused of molesting 5-year-old boy at work," 1 Aug. 2019 George Hodel came under suspicion after he was accused of molesting his daughter, Tamar Hodel. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The True Story of I Am the Night: How the Black Dahlia and George Hodel Were Connected," 10 Feb. 2019

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 2019

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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
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

Comments on molest

What made you want to look up molest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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