pes·​tle | \ ˈpe-səl How to pronounce pestle (audio) , ˈpes-tᵊl How to pronounce pestle (audio) \

Definition of pestle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually club-shaped implement for pounding or grinding substances in a mortar — see mortar illustration
2 : any of various devices for pounding, stamping, or pressing


pestled; pestling\ ˈpe-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce pestle (audio) , ˈpes-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of pestle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to beat, pound, or pulverize with or as if with a pestle

intransitive verb

: to work with a pestle : use a pestle

Illustration of pestle

Illustration of pestle


pestle 1 (with mortar)

In the meaning defined above

Examples of pestle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Using a mortar and pestle, a small food processor or a blender, blend the garlic, anchovies and sugar with a pinch of salt into a paste. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2022 Transfer to a mortar and pestle; pulverize into a coarse powder, about 1 minute. People Staff,, 2 Aug. 2022 To create the finished products, fish bones were boiled to get rid of excess flesh, calcined in a kiln and then ground with a mortar and pestle. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 1 Aug. 2022 The best food processor can’t do what a mortar and pestle does, cookbook author and former BA editor Andy Baraghani says. Tiffany Hopkins, Bon Appétit, 13 July 2022 Make the pesto by pounding together the greens, onion or shallot, and sunflower seeds with a mortar and pestle, or by mixing in a food processor with a steel blade. The Editors, Outside Online, 23 June 2022 Whole seeds like fennel, cumin, and coriander are also top priority, either lightly toasted in a dry skillet, or roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to release the most powerful aroma. Rebecca Firkser, Bon Appétit, 25 May 2022 Transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind into a fine powder; set aside. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 21 Mar. 2022 This easy guacamole recipe is best made in a Mexican mortar and pestle called a molcajete, but a bowl and a fork works fine. Antara Sinha, Bon Appétit, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of pestle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for pestle


Middle English pestel, from Anglo-French, from Latin pistillum, from pinsere to pound, crush; akin to Greek ptissein to crush, Sanskrit pinaṣṭi he pounds

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pestle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for pestle


pes·​tle | \ ˈpe-səl How to pronounce pestle (audio) \

Kids Definition of pestle

: a tool shaped like a small club for crushing substances in a mortar


pes·​tle | \ ˈpes-əl also ˈpes-tᵊl \

Medical Definition of pestle

: a usually club-shaped implement for pounding or grinding substances in a mortar

More from Merriam-Webster on pestle

Nglish: Translation of pestle for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about pestle


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