\ ˈpest How to pronounce pest (audio) \

Definition of pest

1 : an epidemic disease associated with high mortality specifically : plague
2 : something resembling a pest in destructiveness especially : a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns (such as agriculture or livestock production)
3 : one that pesters or annoys : nuisance

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Other Words from pest

pesty \ ˈpe-​stē How to pronounce pesty (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for pest


pestilence, plague

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Examples of pest in a Sentence

These insects are pests for farmers. mice and other household pests You're being a real pest. Would you leave us alone, please?
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Recent Examples on the Web

The work is funded by grants from the USDA and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and overseen by WSU entomology professor Elizabeth Beers, an expert on integrated pest management. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A local researcher is breeding an army of wasps to devour invasive stink bugs," 27 Aug. 2018 Labor shortage, drought, pest management are all things that keep farmers awake at night. Nicole Miller-coleman,, "As attention on Vinduino grows, so does its market," 7 July 2018 Consider a termite inspection from a qualified pest management company. Leah Napoliello, Houston Chronicle, "BBB on Homes: Move quickly against ‘silent destroyers’," 20 May 2018 In 2016, the state started requiring school districts to adopt integrated pest management plans to deal with problematic animals, insects and plants. Daniel Langhorne,, "Newport Harbor High principal apologizes for rat problem, adding ‘We’re getting our arms around it’," 9 May 2018 Kitty also runs Bird Strike Force, a pest management company. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Suwannee County: Experience an ancient hunting art at International Falconry Academy," 6 May 2018 One suite of rooms is for pest management to remove insects that burrow into textiles, paper or wood and prevent contamination of other collections. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's attic is moving — Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Veterans Museum move collections," 20 Apr. 2018 Under the initiative, Idaho state foresters evaluate U.S. Forest Service land in Idaho for health, identifying areas to be logged to help with problems such as overgrowth and pest management. Elaine Williams, idahostatesman, "These days, Butch Otter would be happy as a ‘sharecropper’ on federal land | Idaho Statesman," 29 Mar. 2018 Most ranchers and farmers view prairie dogs as pests that dig holes where cattle can fall and break legs, yet these remarkable rodents are essential to the ecosystem. Andrew Evans,, "Feel the pull of the prairie on a uniquely American safari in Montana," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pest.' 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 pest

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pest

Middle French peste, from Latin pestis

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Statistics for pest

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for pest

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

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More Definitions for pest



English Language Learners Definition of pest

: an animal or insect that causes problems for people especially by damaging crops
informal : a person who bothers or annoys other people


\ ˈpest How to pronounce pest (audio) \

Kids Definition of pest

1 : nuisance … Kirsti was such a pest, always butting in.— Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
2 : a plant or animal that is harmful to humans or property


\ ˈpest How to pronounce pest (audio) \

Medical Definition of pest

1 : an epidemic disease associated with high mortality specifically : plague sense 2
2 : something resembling a pest in destructiveness especially : a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns

Other Words from pest

pesty \ ˈpes-​tē How to pronounce pesty (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on pest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pest

Spanish Central: Translation of pest

Nglish: Translation of pest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pest

Comments on pest

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


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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