pest

noun
\ˈpest \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pest

pesty \ ˈpe-​stē \ adjective

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?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Should gene-drive technology prove effective at controlling rodents, islands are an ideal test bed, says Heath Packard, director of Island Conservation in Santa Cruz, California, a GBIRd partner that focuses on eradicating invasive pests. Ewen Callaway, Scientific American, "Controversial CRISPR “Gene Drives” Tested in Mammals for the First Time," 10 July 2018 Between fears of Zika, West Nile, dengue fever, and other diseases, mosquitos are starting to feel like less of an annoying pest and more like a seriously scary health threat. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "A Florida Teen Is the First Human to Catch This Virus From a Mosquito," 25 June 2018 Pigeons, an unwanted pest in some of our major cities, had a role in the settlement of our nation. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 2018 A few years ago, the university had to purchase two nitrogen chambers, measuring about six cubic yards each, to help keep the books pest-free. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "The Bats Help Preserve Old Books But They Drive Librarians, Well, Batty," 17 June 2018 Plant suckers grow when the tree is under stress from things such as drought, overwatering, disease and pests. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Suckers create thorny situation for gardener | The Sacramento Bee," 13 Apr. 2018 The Vimy Foundation had wanted to send descendant saplings to be planted in France to mark the centennial of the battle but the French government rejected the proposal to protect against invasive pests. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "WWI battle leveled oak forest in France, Liberty Memorial to get descendant sapling," 9 Apr. 2018 Health officials regularly test the region’s mosquitoes for signs of West Nile virus, Zika and other illnesses that can be carried from person to person through the pest’s bite. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Dealing with more bug bites than usual? Mosquitos are at 3 times their normal number in Maryland this summer.," 5 July 2018 Paskewitz said tick tubes are harmless to mice and their predators. Because mice have more frequent contact with ticks, this method is effective in targeting the pests in greater numbers. Jennifer Walter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ticks are appearing more frequently in backyards. Here's how to target ticks close to home.," 3 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pest

Statistics for pest

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pest

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pest

pest

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pest

: an animal or insect that causes problems for people especially by damaging crops

: a person who bothers or annoys other people

pest

noun
\ˈpest \

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

pest

noun
\ˈpest \

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 \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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