pes·​ti·​lent | \ ˈpe-stə-lənt How to pronounce pestilent (audio) \

Definition of pestilent

1 : destructive of life : deadly
2 : injuring or endangering society : pernicious
3 : causing displeasure or annoyance
4 : infectious, contagious a pestilent disease

Other Words from pestilent

pestilently adverb

Examples of pestilent in a Sentence

proper hand washing will help prevent the spread of most pestilent diseases pestilent reporters hounding him night and day
Recent Examples on the Web The former was true in the Pelicans' Game 4 as the eagle-wingspan need small forward Jones' and pestilent 6-foot Alvarado's varied physical traits held him to a playoff career-low four points and caused three turnovers. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 Island living looks like a privilege when the world is pestilent. New York Times, 31 Oct. 2020 Herbicides also are available to contend with the pestilent plant. cleveland, 30 June 2020 At the time, the miasmatic theory of disease—the idea that illness was caused by foul, pestilent odors—had made its way to Boston from England, and undoubtedly influenced the decision to fill in the pond. Betsy Mason, National Geographic, 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pestilent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of pestilent

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pestilent

Middle English, from Latin pestilent-, pestilens pestilential, from pestis

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The first known use of pestilent was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pestilent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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