pes·to | \ˈpe-(ˌ)stō \

Definition of pesto 

: a sauce made especially of fresh basil, garlic, oil, pine nuts, and grated cheese

Examples of pesto in a Sentence

Top the bread with pesto.

Recent Examples on the Web

The tagliatelle Bolognese were rich and savory; the linguini with pesto, bright and herbaceous. Michele Parente,, "3 new restaurants to try in San Diego right now: Monzù, j/wata, An's Dry Cleaning," 5 July 2018 The spud and chorizo, second from left, is stuffed with slices of chorizo, crispy potatoes, tomato mojo, and jalapeno pesto. James Patrick Kelly, idahostatesman, "Boise’s trendy new taquerias redefine the taco – and diners get to taste the difference," 27 June 2018 Toss quickly cooked crisp-tender beans in a dead-simple pesto made from almonds, mint, arugula, and Parm. Christina Chaey, Bon Appetit, "Romanos Are the Queen of Snap Beans and I Want to Eat Them All," 29 May 2018 But pesto doesn’t have to be exclusive to Italian cooking. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Condiments / Cooking / Food & Drink / Food Chain Here's how to make BellyQ chef Bill Kim’s excellent Korean pesto," 23 Apr. 2018 Drizzle oven roasted veggies with tahini or serve with pesto made from olive oil, herbs, and nuts., "What’s the Deal With Complete and Incomplete Protein—and Does It Even Matter?," 10 Apr. 2018 Pizza fluctuated high and low, from a crisp and herb-forward chicken pesto to a pie with sausage, red pepper and a soggy center. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Pesto Ristorante a solid addition to Olmos Park," 29 Mar. 2018 Put the bread, peaches, and tomatoes into a bowl, add sea salt and pepper to taste, pesto, and toss. Ellise Pierce, star-telegram, "It's time to start cooking with summer’s tasty top prize — Texas peaches," 10 July 2018 The students picked the basil and turned it into pesto for the pasta. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Hebrew Academy students learn math skills through restaurant project," 14 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of pesto

1937, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pesto

Italian, from pesto, adjective, pounded, from pestare to pound, from Late Latin pistare, frequentative of Latin pinsere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pesto

Dictionary Entries near pesto






pest pear


Statistics for pesto

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pesto

The first known use of pesto was in 1937

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pesto



English Language Learners Definition of pesto

: an Italian sauce that is made especially of fresh basil, garlic, oil, and grated cheese

Comments on pesto

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


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!