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[pes-ter] /ˈpɛs tər/
verb (used with object)
to bother persistently with petty annoyances; trouble:
Don't pester me with your trivial problems.
Obsolete. to overcrowd.
Origin of pester
1530-40; perhaps aphetic variant of empester, impester to tangle, encumber (though pester is found earlier than these 2 words) < Middle French empestrer to hobble, entangle < Vulgar Latin *impāstōriāre to hobble, equivalent to im- im-1 + pāstōri(a) a hobble, noun use of Latin pāstōrius of a herdsman or shepherd + -āre infinitive suffix (see pastor); aphetic form apparently reinforced by pest (cf. -er6)
Related forms
pesterer, noun
pesteringly, adverb
pestersome, adjective
unpestered, adjective
1. annoy, vex, tease, disturb; irritate, provoke, plague; badger, harry, hector.
1. delight, entertain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pestering
Historical Examples
  • What do you mean by pestering Marcoline at the theatre yesterday?

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • But we couldn't have talked with that fellow, Doyle, pestering us.

    General John Regan George A. Birmingham
  • What's the good of pestering me with questions at this awful time?

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • "No, they ain't courting, either," she informed the pestering neighbors.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Joe's eyes flicked to the other two who had been pestering the little fellow.

    Mercenary Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Why not, if he goes on pestering, and pestering, and pestering?

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • I will be here to see you, if you still persist in pestering me.

    The Golden Face William Le Queux
  • Can't drive him away with a club; been pestering me an hour.

    Dominie Dean Ellis Parker Butler
  • This Adonis Im talking about is pestering Clara with his attentions.

  • She was pestering him unmercifully for what he already owed her.

    In Pawn Ellis Parker Butler
British Dictionary definitions for pestering


(transitive) to annoy or nag continually
Derived Forms
pesterer, noun
pesteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Old French empestrer to hobble (a horse), from Vulgar Latin impāstōriāre (unattested) to use a hobble, from pāstōria (unattested) a hobble, from Latin pāstōrius relating to a herdsman, from pastor herdsman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pestering



1520s, "to clog, entangle, encumber," probably a shortening of Middle French empestrer "place in an embarrassing situation" (Modern French empêtrer, Walloon epasturer), from Vulgar Latin *impastoriare "to hobble" (an animal), from Latin im- "in" + Medieval Latin pastoria (chorda) "(rope) to hobble an animal," from Latin pastoria, fem. of pastorius "of a herdsman," from pastor "herdsman" (see pastor (n.)). Sense of "annoy, trouble" (1560s) is from influence of pest. Related: Pestered; pestering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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